25September2018

Doctors use superglue to save baby with brain aneurysm

A 20-day-old baby born with a deadly aneurysm has been saved with the help of superglue. A quick-thinking and enterprising doctor University of Kansas Hospital was able to save the baby life with the help of a commonly known household substance: superglue.

Gist:

  • 20-day-old Ashlyn Julian was born with an almond-sized aneurysm on her brain, an extremely rare condition in an infant
  • Rare in infants, the discovery of an aneurysm in Ashlyn’s tiny brain, center, meant doctors were in uncharted territory
  • Baby was saved when doctors improvised a way to close her aneurysm, using surgical super glue
  • Dr. Koji Ebersole knew most babies wouldn’t survive on their own with the condition, but there were no prescribed methods to save her, either
  • Dr. Ebersole used a micro-catheter as thin as a hair to administer surgical glue, fishing it through Ashlyn’s neck and into her brain, none of which had been done on an infant before
  • Ashlyn’s parents were as shocked as doctors when the 20-day-old girl began to recover almost immediately. They will take her home in a week or so

Ashlyn Julian was born May 16. The girl began crying and screaming and spitting up constantly, and mother Gina Julian rushed her to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Kan.

It all started when Ashlyn Julian, born May 16, went from quiet all the time to screaming and throwing up.

‘At that point,’ says mom Gina Julian, ‘you know something’s not right.

Fearing the worst, Ashlyn’s parents rushed the tiny girl to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Kansas. That’s where an ultra-sound uncovered something lurking inside her brain.

‘[That’s] as far as we made it because they saw something in her head at that point in time, so they decided to transfer her to a hospital that was better equipped for what was going on,’ Julian told CNN.

The decision turned out to  be a smart one, but no one could have known that the moment doctors at the second hospital diagnosed Ashlyn with an almond-sized aneurysm in her brain.

The condition, very rarely seen in infants, is far more common in adults, leaving doctors in uncharted waters.

‘We did not know what the right answer was. This was not a textbook case,’ said Dr. Koji Ebersole, an endovascular neurosurgeon.

Dr. Ebersole said the aneurysm was unlikely to close on its own and that most babies wouldn’t survive an aneurysm left untreated.

‘So we had a strong reason to develop a plan to close the aneurysm,’ he said.

Unfortunately, because the condition is so rare in infants, there were no designated tools for the job.

Doctors found an almond-sized aneurysm in her brain — a very rare diagnosis for infants. And they were stumped on the treatment. There were no tools designed to remove it or treat the aneurysm in patients so small.

After imaging the aneurysm using an angiogram, which allows doctors to view the body’s blood vessels, Dr. Ebersole decided on his course of action: he would close the aneurysm using surgical superglue.

So Dr. Koji Ebersole, an endovascular neurosurgeon, took a chance: He decided to close the aneurysm with surgical superglue. He took a tiny, hair-thin catheter and entered through the baby’s neck to deposit the glue on the area of treatment on the brain.

Ashlyn’s prognosis was impossible to determine. No one had ever used superglue on a baby in that way before. There wasn’t even a designated tool for the job.

Dr. Ebersole decided to use a tiny, hair thin micro-catheter to administer the daring treatment. Going in through the baby’s neck, the doctors accessed the aneurysm and deposited the glue.

And then they waited.

But they didn’t have to wait long. Doctors were able to remove Ashlyn’s breathing tube the very next day. Within 24 hours, the baby was doing well, doctors said

“I did not know that she’d be ready that fast, and I think she’s been making steady strides since, so we’re all very happy,” Ebersole said.

Although she still has to spend some time in the hospital to allow the fluids from the aneurysm to drain, Ashlyn is expected to make a full recovery, KSHB reported.

“You can’t even say thank you. Thank you is not enough, but thank you,” Gina Julian said, according to KSHB.

Ashlyn’s relieved parents will likely be able to take their little girl, who doctors say will be just fine, home in a week or so.

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