Quick-thinking doctors at the University of Kansas Hospital were able to save an infant's life with a little help from superglue, CNN reports.
Ashlyn Julian's parents noticed that their daughter, born May 16, had changed drastically in the weeks since her birth. She was always a heavy sleeper but, according to CNN, her parents said they now had trouble waking her to feed her. And then Ashyln began screaming and vomiting.
Her parents took her to the emergency room, where doctors discovered an aneurysm in Ashlyn's brain. The baby was transferred to the better equipped KU hospital, where doctors got to work.
"We did not know what the right answer was. This was not a textbook case," said Dr. Koji Ebersole, an endovascular neurosurgeon. "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."
By the time doctors at KU Hospital got to Ashlyn, she had already experienced one bleed from the aneurysm, and before her surgery she would experience a second. The standard treatment for brain aneurysms is to open the skull, but in a baby as young as Ashlyn, that wasn’t the preferred option.
With the clock ticking and a baby's life in danger, Ebersole decided on a different course of action. Rather then opening Ashlyn's skull and risking significant blood loss, Ebersole decided to close the aneurysm with special surgical superglue—a method previously utilized only on adults, according to KMBC-9.
Because bleeding in the brain is so rare in infants, there aren't even tools for the procedure. So Ebersole improvised, using a micro-catheter as thin as a strand of hair inserted into Ashlyn’s neck to access the aneurysm and deposit the glue.
The minimally invasive, groundbreaking procedure worked. Just one day after her aneurysm was eradicated, Ashlyn’s breathing tube was removed – exceeding even the expectations of her surgeon.
A day after the procedure, Ashlyn was doing much better, according to KMBC-9. "I think we're driven because we know it's the right thing to do," said Ebersole on the successful procedure. "You don't know if you can get it done, but you have a very good reason to try, and when it goes your way, that means something. At least it does for me.