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Uzbek girl in recovery after brain surgery

By Zhou Wenting in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-19 09:39

A 4-year-old girl from Uzbekistan who has a rare, progressive cerebrovascular disease known as moyamoya that may cause stroke or bleeding in the brain, returned home with her parents on Monday after two recent craniotomy surgeries in a Shanghai hospital.

Experts from the Children's Hospital of Fudan University, where the surgeries were performed, said the treatment restored blood flow in blocked arteries or veins in the girl's brain.

"Such surgeries will greatly improve the child's bilateral cerebral circulation, and reduce the proliferation of smoke-shaped blood vessels," said Li Hao, director of neurosurgery at the hospital, which is a national medical center. "They'll thereby reduce the incidence of ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes, and protect the child's developing nervous system from further ischemia.

"Through proper medical treatment, more than 80 percent of children with moyamoya disease can be clinically cured, and more than 90 percent of them can achieve a reduction in clinical symptoms and return to normal life."

The girl, named Marian, experienced weakness in both legs multiple times last year. Three months ago, she had a sudden convulsion in her right leg, after which her mobility was limited. Doctors in Uzbekistan suspected she had moyamoya disease and prescribed medicines.

A week later, Marian had another sudden recurrent convulsion in her limbs and face and lost limb muscle strength. She had slurred speech and left facial paralysis, and the muscle strength in her limbs never fully recovered, being especially noticeable in the fine motor skills of her hands.

An effective treatment for moyamoya disease is surgery. After consulting with neurosurgeons in Uzbekistan, Turkiye and Russia, Marian's parents found that they had seen a fairly limited number of such cases.

After many inquiries, they learned that Xu Bin, a professor at Huashan Hospital Affiliated with Fudan University in Shanghai, had given multiple keynote speeches on moyamoya disease at international neurosurgery conferences. They contacted Xu and learned there is a team of experts in Shanghai with vast experience in the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

They were told that the Children's Hospital of Fudan University performs nearly 100 surgeries for children with moyamoya disease a year, and has achieved remarkable results in the diagnosis and treatment of hemorrhagic or ischemic cerebrovascular diseases in children.

Marian was admitted to the Shanghai hospital on April 17. After examining her, the hospital organized a multidisciplinary consultation with experts from intensive care, neurology, anesthesiology, rehabilitation and psychology to formulate a personalized treatment plan.

The medical team decided that Marian needed two surgeries, one for each hemisphere of her brain.

Xu and Li led the first surgery on the right hemisphere in April and the second on the left hemisphere on June 4. Between the two surgeries, the medical team introduced rehabilitation and music therapy to help Marian better recover her mobility and language ability, and her recovery has been progressing smoothly.

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