Super glue to the rescue. In a case of medical ingenuity, surgeons in Kansas saved the life of baby girl last month by gluing a deadly aneurysm in her brain.
Ashlyn Julian was not even two weeks old when her worried parents rushed her to the emergency room at their local hospital – their daughter, born healthy on May 16, had started screaming and throwing up.
According to a report by CNN, doctors noticed that her fontanel, the soft spot on a newborn’s head, was raised. After conducting an ultrasound, and finding an unusual mass in her brain, they transferred her to the better-equipped University of Kansas Hospital.
There, doctors confirmed an aneurysm the size of an almond. “This was not a textbook case,” Dr. Koji Ebersole, a neurosurgeon at the Kansas City hospital, told CNN. If the aneurysm burst, or caused too much bleeding, it could be fatal. Usually, for adults, doctors open the skull to operate, but something less invasive was preferred for a newborn.
“The difficulty is, on a child so small, any amount of blood loss represents a significant percentage of her overall blood volume,” Dr. Ebersole said. “So a surgery on the brain to approach something that wants to bleed – we could have been in a situation with bleeding that we could not keep up with, and that would have been life-threatening.”
Instead, Dr. Ebersole performed an angiogram to study the aneurysm more closely, and chose an “unorthodox approach.” Because she was so tiny and aneurysms in infants are so rare, he had to improvise with a micro-catheter about as large as a strand of hair. Inserting it into Ashlyn’s neck, he applied the surgical super glue to the aneurysm to close it and prevent further bleeding.
Ashlyn’s recovery has been remarkable. Her breathing tube was removed the day after surgery. Healed by a patch of glue and a dose of creativity, she is expected to to go home within two weeks and recover fully.