Conjoined twins successfully separated in London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital
Rital and Ritag Gaboura, who are almost a year old, were finally separated on August 15 at Great Ormond St Hospital after being brought over by a charity from their native Sudan.
The baby girls were craniopagus, meaning that they were fused at the cranium – a condition which affects only about two per cent of cases of conjoined twins.
The nature of their condition meant significant blood flowed between their brains, with Ritag supplying half the blood to her sister’s brain, while draining most of it back to her heart. While the twins did not share brain tissue, they remained at very significant risk because a drop in brain blood pressure would cause neurological damage.
So far, the girls are reacting in the same ways to tests and stimuli as they did before surgery which suggests they have not suffered neurological side-effects. However, their young age makes it difficult to determine whether this is definitely the case.
The children were born by caesarean section last September in Khartoum, Sudan. Both their parents are doctors. Their father, Abdelmajeed Gaboura, 31, is a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology, and their mother, Enas, 27, is still in training.
In a statement the girls’ parents expressed their gratitude to the work of the medical team and the charity for its funding. “We are very thankful to be able to look forward to going home with two separate, healthy girls. We feel very lucky that our girls have been able to have the surgery that they needed, but we also know of other children who need complete sponsorship and families who are searching for someone to help them.”
About 40 per cent of twins fused at the head are stillborn or die during labor and a third die within 24 hours. The survival rate for separations involving the brain is low.