Monday, March 26, 2007 at 8:56 AM
Two little Romanian twins, conjoined at the head, are traveling to Cleveland in the coming weeks in the hopes that a series of complex and risky surgeries surgeries will separate them. ideastream's Health Reporter Lisa Ann Pinkerton has more.
Three-year-olds Tatiana and Anastasia Dogaru have the personalities of average toddlers, but the way their bodies are fused together occurs only once in 2.5 million births. Tatiana is the smaller of the two and the top of her brain is fused to her sisters, behind Anastasia's right ear. In addition, Tatiana's kidneys function for both sisters. Anastasia's kidneys haven't worked from birth. When the girls arrive in Cleveland next month, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital will continue evaluating the girls where two hospitals in Dallas, Texas left off. Chief Medical Officer Nathan Levitan says it's unclear why those hospitals declined to perform the separation, but the two years of research they gathered are available to the Cleveland physicians.
Nathan Levitan: They have reviewed all of the available radiology images, and geography other medical information on the twins and they are certainly starting with that as a base line.
If it's deemed appropriate, the girls will undergo a series of preparation surgeries to get their bodies functioning independently before they're physically separated. No conjoined twins have ever been separated at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital. However, Levitan says the hospital's wealth of experts more than make up for experience in such rare surgeries.
Nathan Levitan: In fact if you look at the individual procedures we have done more complex procedures here than what is required for these girls.
Levitan says the three year olds aren't separated they may not live very long. With a successful separation, he says, they have a 50% chance of survival, with Anastasia's life dependent on kidney dialysis and a future kidney transplant. Lisa Ann Pinkerton, 90.3.