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Glue used to treat childhood brain condition

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Doctors at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital have saluted the success of a new treatment which involves the injection of a glue-like tissue adhesive in children born with the brain condition Vein of Galen malformation.

The condition, which usually proves fatal for babies within their first few days, results in an abnormal communication between the arteries and veins in their brain, putting excess stress on the heart.

Left untreated, most babies usually die within three to four days due to heart failure or hydrocephalus (water on the brain).

The new treatment, which involves the injection of a tissue adhesive called Histoacryl through a catheter in the baby’s groin to block the affected area of the brain, has proved increasingly successful.

Consultant interventional neuro radiologist at Great Ormond Street Hospital, Dr Stefan Brew, said the procedure was “very satisfying” but “incredibly stressful” to perform, adding: “The children go from looking like they were about to die, often overnight, to looking very well.”

Dr Brew said around six out of 10 children treated go on to live a normal life and another two in 10 will be left with only a mild disability while a further 10% will be left severely disabled and one in 10 children will die.

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