Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Formerly conjoined twins leave California hospital

Outpatient care ongoing; "Twins are doing very well," said lead surgeon

PALO ALTO, Calif - Marking a major step in their ongoing recovery from separation surgery, formerly conjoined Costa Rican twins Yurelia and Fiorella Rocha-Arias were released from inpatient care last week at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford.

"The twins are doing very well," said Gary Hartman, MD, lead surgeon for last month’s separation surgery. "Yurelia is almost fully recovered. Meanwhile, Fiorella’s blood pressure is returning to normal through medication. All in all, we’re quite pleased."

The two-year-olds are now outpatients, and have daily appointments with occupational and physical therapists to improve their strength and mobility. In addition, the twins have cardiovascular appointments with Gail Wright, MD, every other week.

The twins are recovering not just from the successful separation on November 12, but also from follow-up procedures. Yurelia’s life-threatening congenital anomaly known as double outlet right ventricle (DORV) was corrected by Frank Hanley, MD, chief of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, on November 14. Then, on November 19, Fiorella returned to surgery for a brief modification of her chest reconstruction and repair of her skin closure, a procedure led by Hartman and Peter Lorenz, MD, chief of pediatric plastic surgery.

"Through preparation, surgery and recovery, basically every discipline in the hospital has been involved with the girls and their care," said Hartman.

Now the family can begin planning their return to Costa Rica.

"We expect another 6 to 8 weeks of follow-up prior to going home,” said Hartman. “Mom Maria Elizabeth Arias and dad Jose Luis are thrilled with the girls’ progress, and thankful for everyone’s help."

For more information on the twins click here. To access a photo gallery and watch videos released by the hospital click here.

Information and photo provided by the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital

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