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Historic operation at QEH


CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

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History was created at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH)  yesterday when doctors performed the institution’s first foetal intra-uterine transfusion on a 31-week old foetus that was anaemic.
A release today from the hospital explained that a blood sample indicated that the mother’s immune system was Rh–sensitized resulting in the destruction of fetal red blood cells. This was further suggested by ultrasound scan findings. It was confirmed through a foetal blood sample and a transfusion was given by delivering donor blood into the umbilical vein which was previously cross matched with the mother’s blood.
It further stated that blood replaced the foetal red blood cells that were being destroyed and will keep the foetus healthy until it is time for delivery which is preferably in another two weeks.
The one-hour procedure was conducted by Dr Na Tisha Robinson, a Maternal and Foetal Medicine Specialist who recently returned from Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto where she completed a two-year fellowship in Maternal and Foetal medicine.
 Her specialty is treating high risk pregnancies where a mother may have health issues ranging from cardiovascular or renal disease to diabetes or hypertension. She said cases of foetal anaemia in Barbados were sporadic, with three in the last year.  
During the procedure she was assisted via Skype by Dr  Greg Ryan and Dr Rory Windrim two Fetal Therapists from Mount Sinai. “We were able to send our ultrasound image to them directly allowing them to comment on the procedure and lend their expertise.” she said.
At the hospital she was assisted by OBGYNs Drs. Geoffrey Lafond and Hugh Thomas with support from the haematology, oncology, neonatal and anaesthesiology departments. Special technical assistance was also given by Dr. Damian Best, Senior Registrar in the hospital’s OBGYN department.
She stressed that the complex intervention possibly saved the baby’s life as the anaemia was severe. “The baby has been transfused and is no longer anaemic. This allows the baby a longer stay ‘in utero’ and decreases the morbidity associated with prematurity,” she said.
Acting Director of Medical Services Dr David Callender lauded Robinson and her team for their outstanding work, noting it is a testimony to the excellent service offered by the QEH.
The release stated that mother and baby were doing fine. (PR)

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