A baby’s life has been saved after doctors were able to plug a hole in his brain with superglue.
Little Jack Jones was diagnosed with Vein of Galen Malformation when he was just six weeks old. This is a rare condition that leads to the brain’s major vein, the Vein of Galen, swelling. If left untreated this can lead to brain damage or heart failure but Jack underwent life-saving surgery to relieve the pressure. During the procedure, surgeons blocked off swollen vein using a medical form of superglue called Histoacryl.
Jack, who is now five months old, was diagnosed in August after a health visitor noticed the circumference of his head was 43.2cm, which is 2cm bigger than an average baby.
His mother Emma Rigby, 26, from St Helens, Merseyside, said: ‘Who knew that measuring Jack’s head would save his life. ‘He had no other symptoms of the condition, so we’re lucky that Louise, the health visitor, spotted it. At first, we brushed it off, because he’d always had a big head, but now I’m glad we listened.’
Ms Rigby took Jack to Whiston Hospital in St Helens, where doctors agreed his head was big but, unconcerned, sent him home. The next morning, Ms Rigby,who works at a care home, received a phone call from a second doctor asking that they return that day for an ultrasound to rule out anything concerning.
This time doctors found fluid on Jack’s brain and realised the situation was serious.
Ms Rigby said: ‘The next thing I knew, we were transferred to Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool where Jack had further scans. We were so worked up. Jack only had two-thirds chance of surviving the operation, but he would die without it, so we had no choice.’
During the operation, Dr Bhattacharya blocked off the malformed and swollen Vein Of Galen in Jack’s brain by going through a vessel in his groin which led there. He blocked it off with a blob of glue called Histoacryl, similar to superglue.
The six hour operation was a success and a day later, Jack was back to his normal self. Now he is back home and is thriving, although he will need check-ups for the rest of his life.
Ms Rigby said: ‘We couldn’t be happier. Looking at him, you’d think there had never been anything wrong. It feels like a dream. We never thought superglue could be used in that way and I’d never heard of such a technique.”