While Tatiana and Anastasia Dogaru can develop life-threatening complications if they remain conjoined, the risk of proceeding with the long-planned separation surgery is too great, said Dr. Nathan Levitan, chief medical officer of the hospital’s parent,
“We are, of course, worried that the girls could develop complications over time if they are not separated, as have other children with this condition,” he said. “However, in the judgment of our team of physicians, the risk of proceeding with separation is too great.”
Source: University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital
The decision was made last week after doctors reviewed the results of weeks of tests done on the girls, Levitan said.
The top of Tatiana’s head is attached to the back of Anastasia’s and they have never been able to look each other in the eye. Anastasia, the bigger twin, has no kidney function and relies on Tatiana’s kidneys.
The girls’ were born in
They said in a videotaped statement played at a Monday news conference at the hospital that they were thankful for the care the girls had received. Claudia Dogaru said she and her husband believe they had made the best decision on behalf of the girls.
Alin Dogaru said the family appreciated the hospital’s consideration of their concern that neither girl face a significant risk.
“We want to thank them, the medical team, for being aware of this and stopping at the right time,” he said.
Levitan, asked about the girls’ survival prospects, said only 14 similar twins have been reported in the past half century, and just 10 percent had reached age 11.
While medicine continues to make progress, “no one can predict the future,” he said.
An initial surgery in the process to separate the twins on June 6 was halted because of brain swelling and low blood pressure.
Medical tests since the aborted surgery showed the hearts of both girls are overworking — Tatiana’s as if to overcome a blockage and Anastasia’s to deal with low blood pressure.
Dr. James Tait Goodrich of
“There are a lot of extenuating circumstances here that could have seriously led to the demise of both children or even if they had survived, been in a much more compromised state than they are in now at present,” said Goodrich, who has consulted on the Dogaru case.
The girls arrived in
Levitan said the risks to the conjoined girls include infection and heart failure.
“These types of problems are very hard to manage,” he said.
The twins have already beaten the odds by living this long. Most twins joined at the head die at birth, according to the hospital.
They are doing well at home, walking and playing, Levitan said.
The hospital is working with the family to decide whether the girls will return to
Levitan said the doctors involved in the case felt they had done the best they could to give the girls a chance to be separated.
“I expect we will all keep in touch with them,” he said.