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Infant Superglue Treatment: Doctors Stop 3-Week-Old Baby's Brain Aneurysm in Breakthrough Procedure [Video]

Infant Superglue Treatment: Doctors Stop 3-Week-Old Baby's Brain Aneurysm in Breakthrough Procedure [Video]
A bleeding brain aneurysm was treated with surgical superglue, effectively stopping the bleeding just one day after doctors found out the infant was hurt. Wikimedia Commons (Portraitlad

Doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital in Kansas City used surgical superglue on an infant only three weeks old in order to stop a bleeding brain aneurysm, according to CNN.

Ashlyn Julian was born healthy on May 16, but shortly after her parents noticed strange behaviors for a infant baby.

"She was probably around 10 days old, and she was sleeping a lot, and I understand babies sleep a lot, but to the point that you couldn't wake her up to feed her," Gina Julian, Ashlyn's mother, told CNN.

Ashlyn's parents rushed her to the emergency room once they saw her behavior change drastically.

"We [went] from a baby that was very quiet to a baby that was screaming all the time and throwing up, and at that point we knew something was very wrong," Julian said.

Doctors noticed the fontanel — the soft spot on a newborn's head — was raised and conducted an ultrasound, suspecting it was meningitis. They noticed something abnormal, but decided to transfer the infant to a hospital that was better equipped for the situation.

At the University of Kansas Hospital, an aneurysm in Ashlyn's brain the size of an almond was found.

An aneurysm is the abnormal widening or ballooning of an artery due to weaknesses in the walls of the blood vessel. If an aneurysm ruptures, pain, low blood pressure, rapid heart rate, lightheadedness, and even death may occur, according to the National Institutes of Health.

By the time the doctors saw Ashlyn, she had already started hemorrhaging from the aneurysm. Before her surgery she would bleed again, however, doctors didn't want to open her skull, since she was too young.

"We did not know what the right answer was. This was not a textbook case," Dr. Koji Ebersole, an endovascular neurosurgeon, told CNN. "If you try to treat the baby without closing the aneurysm ... most of those babies can't survive. So we had a strong reason to develop a plan to close the aneurysm."

After an angiogram, which allows doctors to view the path of blood vessels throughout a patient's body, Ebersole decided to use surgical superglue, something that has only been used on adults in the past. There aren't even tools for the procedure available for infants.

By inserting a micro-catheter, which is as thin as a strand of hair, into the side of Ashlyn's neck, Ebersole was able to find the aneurysm and apply the surgical superglue.

The procedure was not only successful, but also happened quickly, just one day after doctors discovered the aneurysm.

"Oh, we're thrilled! The breathing tube was taken out the very next day," Ebersole said. "I did not know that she'd be ready that fast, and I think she's been making steady strides since, so we're all very happy."

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