Giving Preborn Twins With a Rare Disorder the Lifesaving Chance They Deserve

The Daily Signal | 9/27/2019 | Staff
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Tara Sander Lee, Ph.D., is an associate scholar for the Charlotte Lozier Institute. She is a scientist with almost 20 years’ experience in academic and clinical medicine.

Kathryn Nix is a Policy Analyst for the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Health Policy Studies.

Year - Parents - North - Carolina - News

Earlier this year, parents in North Carolina faced heartbreaking news in the second trimester of pregnancy—their twin girls had developed a disease called twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, a life-threatening condition for both babies, caused by connections in the blood flow between identical twins who share one placenta.

That leads the smaller (donor) twin to pump blood to the other, larger (recipient) twin. If left untreated, advanced forms of the disease are fatal between 80% and 100% of the time.

News - Outcome - Babies - Team - Charlotte

The news was devastating, and the potential outcome for both babies was grim. But the medical team at the Charlotte Fetal Care Center offered a glimmer of hope.

They could perform laser surgery on the placenta to correct the defect, while the twins remained in their mother’s womb. If performed promptly (the next day), the surgery could significantly increase the odds that one or both of the baby girls would survive.

North - Carolina - Couple - Lifesaving - Treatment

The North Carolina couple decided courageously to embrace this lifesaving treatment. Dr. Courtney Stephenson performed the in-utero surgery on the babies at 21 weeks, and even with some unexpected turns during the procedure, both girls survived with no lingering health issues. A news account can be found here.

Fetal surgery, in which babies receive lifesaving treatment while in the womb, is one of the next frontiers of medicine.

Procedure - Transfusion - Syndrome - Dr - Julian

The first procedure used to treat twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome was pioneered and performed in 1988 by Dr. Julian E. De Lia in the United States. Opportunities for intervention have markedly improved since then, but the underlying goal has remained the same; namely, stop progression of...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Daily Signal
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