Conjoined twins separated at Lucile Packard

Nov. 2, 2011, 2:01 a.m.

Angelica and Angelina Sabuco, two year-old twins who were born conjoined at the chest and abdomen, were separated from each other Tuesday at Stanford’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, according to a hospital report.

The operation, which lasted more than nine hours according to the Associated Press, drew national media attention.

“This is a dream come true,” said the twin’s mother Ginady Sabuco at a press conference following the surgery. “Words cannot express how the family feels.”

The hospital reported that the procedure was the sixth separation of conjoined twins to be performed by lead surgeon Gary Hartman, a clinical professor at Stanford, and the second to be carried out at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.

Hartman also led the surgery to separate conjoined twins Yurelia and Fiorella Rocha-Arias in Nov. 2001 at the Packard Children’s Hospital. He told the San Francisco Chronicle before Tuesday’s surgery that the separation of the Sabuco twins would probably be less complex.

He said that while the hearts of the Rocha-Arias twins were connected at the right atrium, only the tips of the Sabuco twins’ hearts touched each other. According to Hartman, the biggest obstacle to separating the Sabuco twins on Tuesday was the fact that their livers were closely joined together.

“We are very pleased,” Hartman said to reporters after the operation. “It could not have gone better.”

Angelica and Angelina were born in the Philippines and moved with their mother to San Jose last year to join their father, who is a technician at a Bay Area company. The incidence of conjoined twin births is estimated at one in 50,000 to 100,000 births worldwide each year, according to the hospital.

The hospital said the overall survival rate of conjoined twins is 25 percent.

— Kurt Chirbas

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