Source AP ©

Two-year-old conjoined twin girls undergo surgery

Two-year-old twin girls who were conjoined at the chest and stomach underwent an operation that successfully separated them.

Yurelia and Fiorella Rocha-Arias of San Jose, Costa Rica , underwent the nine-hour surgery Monday. Though it went well, the odds of survival for such separated conjoined twins is about 50 percent, Dr. Gary Hartman said.

"There's a lot of relief, but it's not really over," Hartman said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. "The point where we would relax significantly would be when they're off the breathing machines."

Yurelia and Fiorella are in the critical care facility at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto. Both are heavily sedated and have ventilators and feeding tubes.

Yurelia is receiving intermittent paralyzing agents because she is going back to the operating room later this week, where a cardiothoracic surgeon will try to correct a serious heart defect.

Fiorella does not appear to need follow-up surgeries, and anesthesiologists will lighten her sedation Tuesday or Wednesday, he said.

The girls' parents, Maria and Jose Luis Rocha-Arias, have requested privacy and declined to comment.

The procedure was considered complicated, in part because the twins shared a blood supply.

Two-year-old twin girls who were conjoined at the chest and
Two-year-old twin girls who were conjoined at the chest and
The girls were connected at the right atria of their hearts, the chamber that receives blood from the rest of the body.

Doctors had to clamp off valves to see what would happen if neither girl shared blood with the other. Neither girl had problems, "in fact, each of them in some manner improved," Hartman said.

The girls also had appeared to share a liver, but the organ turned out to be two individual livers fused at the widest point and successfully separated by doctors.

Yurelia and Fiorella's parents moved from Nicaragua to Costa Rica, which has better medical facilities, after an ultrasound showed conjoined twins. The Nicaraguan embassy helped pay for the twins' care in Costa Rica. The girls arrived in San Francisco on July 25.

Packard doctors are donating their time, and the hospital is donating medical and clinical care, to treat Yurelia and Fiorella, who have nine older siblings. Mending Kids International, a faith-based nonprofit based in Santa Clarita that helps sick children, arranged transportation and housing.

Earlier this fall, Hartman estimated the cost of the surgery to be $1 million ( EUR 680,000) to $2 million ( EUR 1.37 million).

Researchers estimate the incidence of conjoined twins to be between 1 in 30,000 to 1 in 200,000 worldwide. Most do not survive pregnancy, and most born alive die within 24 hours. About five separation surgeries are performed annually in the United States .

Comments
Argentina hides the truth about the death of San Juan submarine
Moving inexorably towards war
Presidential and midterm elections in the USA change the 'American project' entirely
USA plays to pretend a mighty dragon that can no longer breathe fire
Presidential and midterm elections in the USA change the 'American project' entirely
Brexit: The UK's misunderstanding of Democracy
Putin and Erdogan launch first section of TurkStream pipeline in Istanbul
Nagorno-Karabakh: 20,000 people killed, but no one is interested
Putin and Erdogan launch first section of TurkStream pipeline in Istanbul
Russia rips its economy apart with help from the West
Brexit: The UK's misunderstanding of Democracy
Five years after Maidan revolution, Ukraine remains one of Europe's most corrupt states
Kuril Islands dispute between Russia and Japan: The impossible is impossible
Argentina hides the truth about the death of San Juan submarine
Kuril Islands dispute between Russia and Japan: The impossible is impossible
Putin and Erdogan launch first section of TurkStream pipeline in Istanbul
Why Trump tries to re-industrialize America
Russians lose faith in their future, get ready for worse
Theatrical posters depicting naked dancers banned in Russian provincial city
Brexit: The UK's misunderstanding of Democracy
Brexit: The UK's misunderstanding of Democracy