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Finding the right diagnosis and treatment for fetal lung problems

CLEVELAND, Ohio (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Not only can fetal lung malformations cause breathing and feeding problems, they can even lead to infant heart failure.

Surgery is usually what it takes, but the right diagnosis and doctor make a world of difference. The Pulice family couldn't believe their luck.

"I'll never forget, we were so thrilled to find out we were having a little girl, we had a little boy at home, and we were hoping for a little girl," shared mom, Shalayna.

But elation turned to fear after one ultrasound … a lesion on baby Evelyn's left lung.

"It's terrifying … you very much take for granted that your child's going to be healthy," continued Shalayna.

Their first doctor said Evelyn would be rushed into surgery as soon as she was born and would have a large incision down her back. Something didn't feel right so Shalayna went online and found Darrell Cass, MD, Director Fetal Surgery and Fetal Care Center, Cleveland Clinic. Dr. Cass leads a team of fetal surgery specialists.

"A comprehensive fetal treatment program is a collaboration of lots of different specialists that come to the table, there's the obstetricians and the maternal fetal medicine doctors," shared Dr. Cass.

A fetal MRI gave doctors a better diagnosis and plan.

"Evelyn had a specific type of lung malformation we commonly call extra low bar pulmonary sequestration," Dr. Cass explained.

The Pulice's brought baby Evelyn home right away and three months later went back for surgeons to remove her lesion without any large incision.

"She's experienced no problems, no side effects," said Shalayna.

Shalayna urges other parents not to automatically accept an initial diagnosis.

"We were so grateful to find someone who made us feel so comfortable," exclaimed Shalayna.

And baby Evelyn's grateful too!

There are only about 20 fetal treatment centers in the United States. Cleveland Clinic, UCSF and University of Maryland Medical Center are three of them. Go to www.fetalhealthfoundation.org for more. Dr. Cass says it’s important to seek out an experienced team to make sure your baby is getting the most successful outcome.