For the first time in Israel, a baby underwent a brain catheterization through the umbilical cord immediately after birth. The cord was intentionally left uncut so that the procedure could be done.

The rare catheterization procedure was performed in April by Prof. José Cohen, head of the Hadassah Medical Organization’s Cerebral Catheterization Unit, who is considered one of the best neurosurgeons in Israel and around the world.

The procedure took place at Hadassah Ein Kerem about two hours after the baby’s birth by cesarean section. Prof. Cohen and his team had prepared in advance for the special catheterization as soon as the baby was diagnosed with a rare malformation (Vein of Galen Malformation) of one of the blood vessels inside the brain during regular tests that were conducted in Tel Aviv. This abnormality of the blood vessels can cause serious and life-threatening problems in the baby such as severe heart failure, kidney failure, liver dysfunction, and brain injury.

The team which performed this procedure via the umbilical cord consisted of Prof. Cohen who led the operation together with Prof. Moshe Gomori head of the Brain Catheterization Imaging Department, a team of special anesthesiologists who work with babies, a physician specialized in premature infants, and a pediatric intensive care doctor.

After the initial catheterization, the baby underwent an additional brain catheterization two days later again through the umbilical cord.

Two weeks later, two more brain catheterizations were performed in the usual way, by inserting the catheter near the baby’s groin.

After the four catheterizations, the baby began to show considerable improvement. For the next four months, a team of specialists took care of him at a specialized Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital in Jerusalem.

The baby’s family is overjoyed that today he is able to smile and laugh.

Prof. José Cohen during the catheterization, photo uncredited