The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is proud to announce the birth of its 1,000 fetal surgery patient. Audrey Rose Oberio was born May 28 to Jackie and Gideon Oberio. The Oberios traveled to CHOP from Maryland so Audrey could be treated for myelomeningocele, the most severe form of spina bifida, at Children’s Hospital’s Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment. When she was born, Audrey Rose weighed 5 pounds, 8 ounces, and had only a scar where her doctors had operated.
Led by N. Scott Adzick, MD, the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment is the largest and most comprehensive fetal program in the world, with internationally renowned specialists treating the full range of fetal anomalies. In the form of spina bifida for which Audrey was treated, part of the developing spine fails to close properly.
With conventional postnatal surgery, myelomeningocele can lead to lifelong disabilities, including paralysis, bladder and bowel problems, and cognitive impairments. But in 2011, Dr. Adzick and his team published the results of more than two decades of research in the New England Journal of Medicine that showed fetal surgery can significantly improve the outcomes for children diagnosed in utero with spina bifida.
Their study, the Management of Myelomeningocele Study (MOMS) trial, demonstrated that two and a half years after fetal surgery children with spina bifida were better able to walk when compared to children who received surgery shortly after birth, and patients who received fetal surgery scored better on tests of motor function.
“It’s very gratifying to take this idea forward over 30 years, starting with a concept and now offering hope — to families, mothers, and the children themselves,” said Dr. Adzick, whose work was profiled in the 2011 Research Annual Report.
See below for a movie about the Oberio family’s story. And for more information, see the full announcement. To learn more about CHOP’S groundbreaking fetal surgery and fetal care, visit the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment website.