Vietnam doctors separate conjoined baby boys

By Nguyen Mi, Thanh Nien News

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The separated twin boys in ICU following the surgery on February 27 / PHOTO: NGUYEN MI
A pair of conjoined twins who had separate but connected breastbones were separated after a 90-minute surgery at a Ho Chi Minh City  hospital Thursday.
Dr Dao Trung Hieu, deputy director of 'sChildren Hospital No.1, told Thanh Nien that the surgery result was “good” and the babies are in intensive care since the next 24 hours are very critical.
Hieu led a team of more than 10 doctors to perform the surgery on the boys, who are the youngest ever conjoined twins to be separated in Vietnam.
The babies were born in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang on February 23, and admitted to the hospital, one of the country’s leading pediatrics facilities, a day after birth.
Hieu said they had to separate the boys as soon as possible because one of them had a closed anus while the other defecated a lot, threatening to cause infection for both.
The former also has a malformed urinary duct which is also likely to cause an infection.
Once an infection sets in, performing any surgery would become very difficult and complicated, Hieu said.
Doctors found a hole some six centimeters across in the babies’ conjoined breastbones.
Their hearts and other organs were not fused, though the hearts were linked by a vein which did not play any role in carrying blood to the hearts, and so they removed it, Hieu said.
The doctors filled the hole using skin and muscles taken from the boys.
The surgery had originally been expected to last six hours.
Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper quoted Dr Nguyen Duc Tuan as saying that both the babies have heart defects – one with a hole in the wall separating the two lower chambers and the other with a similar hole in the wall of the upper chambers.
Since there is a chance that the holes can close by themselves, the surgeons did not intervene, he said.
Another surgery is planned on the baby with the closed anus in one or two weeks' time, he said.
The other child, who has hydronephrosis, or water in both kidneys, will be observed and doctors will come up with a suitable treatment plan.
On November 26 doctors at the Children's Hospital No.2 successfully separated a pair of conjoined twins who had fused but separate hearts, livers, and bile ducts in a case which was considered “very complicated.”
The boys, who were linked at the chest and abdomen, have been in intensive care since birth.
One of the two, who was always stronger, has since recovered, but the other succumbed on February 23 after living on a breathing machine.
He suffered from severe heart and lung problems and a crooked spinal column, doctors said.

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