A team of highly skilled medical experts at Tygerberg Hospital has performed a complex and successful ex utero intrapartum treatment (EXIT) for a rare foetal abnormality.
According to Tygerberg Hospital, mother Kiara Jackson, 21, had been followed up at the hospital’s Foetal Medicine Unit since 21 weeks gestation because her foetus had a tumour in the mouth.
Head of the Tygerberg Hospital Obstetrics and Gynaecology Ultrasound and Foetal Medicine Unit, Professor Lut Geerts said the baby girl had a rare foetal abnormality of a benign tumour growing outside of her mouth, protruding from her palate. She said the tumour had been detected about halfway through the pregnancy and, as the baby grew so did the tumour.
The tumour was 10cm by 12cm. It was doing no lasting harm while in utero but could obstruct the airway of the foetus the second the baby was born.
“We knew that as soon as we delivered the baby she could be suffocated. Our team had to partially deliver the baby – her head, the tumour and one arm while the baby received continuing oxygen supply via the placenta. We passed a tube into the airway and then finally delivered the baby,” said Professor Geerts.
The treatment was done on Friday December 10, first with a trial run and six medical sub-specialists with their teams and equipment.
Professor Geerts said they believe this to be the first of its kind in South Africa. “We are very proud of the team spirit of all role players involved that made it possible to carry out this procedure with less than 24 hours’ notice, as the mother showed signs of impending labour before the planned surgery date,” she said.
Ms Jackson has been travelling from her home in Kuils River to Tygerberg Hospital every day to be with her baby, named Ivoreè Jayne. She said she is proud of her little girl’s strength. “I am overwhelmed about the whole process of Ivoreè’s recovery and am very proud of her for being so strong and beating the odds that I was given earlier in my pregnancy. I’m madly in love with her,” she said.
She said her baby had all the breathing tubes and cords on when she first held her so it was frightening.
But day by day she got better and the tubes and cords became less and less and are almost gone. And for her health, she healed very quickly and said doctors were even nice enough to close her cut back so her tattoos lined up again.
“I am very grateful for the special care they took of me and are still taking of Ivoreè,” said Ms Jackson.