Hey,you might think I LOOK just like my twin bro... But I'm so rare I could be the only one in the world.Byline: MIKE MORGAN
TEESSIDE battler Alfie Dale is the youngest baby in the UK to survive a desperately delicate operation to "super glue Super Glue Wound care A proprietary adhesive used for nonsuture closure of simple skin lacerations. See Laceration. " an artery in his brain to prevent a fatal blood rush which would have stopped his tiny heart.
And London's Great Ormond Street Hospital's top consultants who treated him also believe Alfie is the youngest survivor of this pioneering operation anywhere in the world.
Seeing bonny Bonny (bŏn`ē), town, SE Nigeria, in the Niger River delta, on the Bight of Biafra. In the 18th and 19th cent., Bonny was the center of a powerful trading state, and in the 19th cent. it became the leading site for slave exportation in W Africa. blond, blue-eyed seven-anda-half-month-old Alfie playing happily today at his home in Glenfield Road, Fairfield, Stockton, with his twin brother Charlie, it's hard to believe his life hung by a thread, not once, but on many agonising occasions.
But now brave little Alfie, who needed not one, but two, world-changing operations to save his life, is now heavier than his twin Charlie at a bouncing 17lb to Charlie's 16lb!
When the two were born, Charlie was free of any problems, but Alfie had what is known as Vein of Galen Vein of Galen refers to two different venous structures, each named after Galen:
1. a type of anomaly.
2. a morphologic defect of an organ or larger region of the body, resulting from an intrinsically abnormal developmental process. .
The twins' mum Alyssa explains that the condition is so rare that only 20 children develop it each year in Britain.
She said: "Doctors at North Tees University Hospital pre-diagnosed the problem when I was pregnant with the twins.
"I also had twin to twin transfusion, with one baby taking more of the blood supply than the other. That is how they were able to diagnose the Vein of Galen condition so early.
"This causes severe problems for the other twin, in our case little Alfie.
"The blood flow in one of Alfie's main arteries became too strong, caused a swelling in his brain which would have led to heart failure. It's a life threatening condition.
"The only chance is a very delicate - and dangerous - operation to block off the problem artery with superglue superglue
an extremely strong and quick-drying glue
superglue n → cola de contacto, supercola
superglue n ."
Proud dad Jon said: "We've now got two miracle babies - Alfie definitely is.
"I'm the proudest dad in Britain! "He's so full of energy, you would never think he had been so close to death so many times. We've been told he will now be able to lead a normal life - play sport, have a job when he's grown up. It's miraculous!" But when Alfie had to be born by Caesarean section at 33 weeks last August 7 in order to have the operation, doctors warned his frantic mum and dad that they had previously tried it out on four other babies aged 36 weeks - and all had died.
Alyssa said: "There was no choice. When he had his first operation, we thought he couldn't possibly pull through.
"He was desperately poorly afterwards, but when we went to see him in intensive care you could see that he was going to battle.
"But they hadn't managed to completely seal the artery and had to do another operation when he was strong enough.
"He got through that too, it worked and he hasn't looked back.
"We are full of praise for all the medical staff, especially the top surgeon Dr Stefan Brew, at Great Ormond Street.
"Now I have the two most beautiful babies in the world!" In his discharge letter given to the couple, the Great Ormond Street experts said: "Alfie is the youngest survivor of the embolised Vein of Galen malformation in the United Kingdom and probably worldwide."
The vital operation is so rare and risky It could only be carried out at a handful of hospitals in the world, including at London's Great Ormond Street.
The painstaking process is incredibly delicate and complex. Surgeons had to thread a tiny catheter from Alfie's groin through his heart to his brain and then slide another even smaller one the size of a human hair through, containing tiny globs of super glue to encapsulate en·cap·su·late
1. To form a capsule or sheath around.
2. To become encapsulated.
en·cap and make safe the aneurysm aneurysm (ăn`yrĭzəm), localized dilatation of a blood vessel, particularly an artery, or the heart. swelling.
Backtracking (algorithm) backtracking - A scheme for solving a series of sub-problems each of which may have multiple possible solutions and where the solution chosen for one sub-problem may affect the possible solutions of later sub-problems. to the beginning of the complex saga, Alyssa told of Alfie's danger-packed journey into what now promises to be full health and a normal life.
She said: "At North Tees, I was scanned regularly as they discovered something was wrong with Alfie. I was transferred to University College Hospital, London, for the birth which was to be by c-section.
"It was to be at 32 weeks for safety, but Alfie wasn't ready to be born then. The doctors said it would be best if I could hang on to carry the twins until 36 weeks.
"But within four days of getting back home from London, Alfie and Charlie's health had deteriorated alarmingly and the staff said the birth had to take place at 33 weeks.
"It was just getting too dangerous to wait."
Alfie was born at just 41b 2oz and brother Charlie at 4lb 1oz. Alfie was rushed off to the famous Great Ormond Street Hospital The Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH) was founded in London in 1852. There are a few institutions which pre-date it as providing care for children, although not in-patient beds. , straight into intensive care.
The plan was that he would remain there for a month to grow and gain strength for his vital touch-and-go life saving operation.
But then the married couple got an urgent call from the hospital saying doctors had to operate at once using the super glue in the artery in his brain to save his life.
DIY or d.i.y. Brit, Austral & NZ do-it-yourself
do it yourself a DIY shop/job. chain retail manager Jon, 32, and children's social worker Alyssa, 30, were filled with dread.
The twins are their first born children and they knew they faced almost certainly losing Alfie to heart failure, or brain haemorrhage. They prepared for the worst.
But amazingly, little Alfie not only miraculously pulled through this major operation at just 34 weeks - believed the youngest baby in the world to survive it -but also the next crucial one, which is now thought to have permanently saved his life.
A hospital check in September will confirm this.
Alyssa said: "Alfie is now developing as a normal baby. I now have two stunning babies which are now seven and a half months old!" Alfie is quieter and happy. Charlie is noisier.
Before Alfie's star status became apparent, Alyssa contacted the Gazette some months ago for the address of Stephen and Kathryn Lane, of Ingleby Barwick Coordinates:
Ingleby Barwick [bA.ɹɪk] is a large private residential estate built on what was the southern perimeter of Thornaby airfield , who had twins Charlie and Sam in 2008 with an identical condition. Their story also ended happily.
Alyssa said: "I got in touch and they were so helpful with information and support. It's a bizarre coincidence to be living so close by on Teesside as this condition is so rare.
"Now we want to tell Alfie's story to help anyone else going through this in Britain. It has been such an enormous emotional strain, but with such a marvellous result."
Vein of Galen: Why Alfie is very special BRITAIN'S top medical experts say Vein of Galen malformations, the condition suffered by special twin Alfie Dale, are very rare and affect the blood vessels of the baby's brain.
The abnormality occurs during embryonic development in the womb and results in abnormal flow between arteries and the veins in blood vessels of the developing brain.
It is a critical and highly dangerous condition.
Capillaries which normally connect arteries to veins which slow blood flow are missing.
This means blood flow is too fast and this also dangerously increases the work of the heart.
A single deep draining vein becomes enlarged and forms a typical Vein of Galen aneurysm.
This can often lead to catastrophic heart failure and/or brain damage and sudden death.
TINY: Alfie in Great Ormond Street Hospital LOOK AT ME NOW: Alfie Dale, on right, is the spit of twin brother Charlie now, but faced a battle for life in hospital, above, after his birth