Saturday 18 November 2017

Pioneering surgeon saves baby boy

Marie Croce and Ciaran Byrne

AN Irish couple have thanked a pioneering surgeon for saving their baby son's life in an operation that fixed a rare defect in his brain.

Pierce Drennan (18 months) was operated on by a UK surgeon who repaired the problem that affects just one in three million babies a year worldwide.

The condition -- known as Vein of Galen malformation -- causes blood to swell inside a vein, putting pressure on the heart and cutting oxygen supply to the brain.

If left untreated, babies can die within days or suffer permanent brain damage. Pierce was diagnosed when he was just 16-days-old.

Last night, his mother Sandra Drennan (42), from Raheny, Dublin, thanked the doctors at Glasgow's Royal Hospital for Sick Children for carrying out the life-saving surgery.

"They were just fantastic," she told the Irish Independent. "They did so much for us."

The entire family travelled to Glasgow last week to thank the doctor and his team in person for their efforts last April.

Consultant radiologist Dr Jo Bhattacharya conducted eight procedures on Pierce, but it was a new technique in the last operation that saved the baby's life.

The doctor had to race back from a holiday to perform the surgery as he is one of just two doctors in the UK with expertise in this area.

Pierce's condition required numerous tiny blood vessels to be sealed. After carrying out seven procedures, Dr Bhattacharya inserted a tube with an inflatable end through the jugular vein to the brain to inject a liquid. It hardened like chewing gum to seal the vessels. The doctor used X-rays to navigate the route in surgery.

Irish Independent

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