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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Tripura girl with rare disease in city hospital

Himabindu Reddy, Hindustan Times  Gurgaon, April 18, 2013
First Published: 01:38 IST(18/4/2013) | Last Updated: 01:40 IST(18/4/2013)

A 17-month-old girl child from Agartala has been admitted at Fortis Memorial Research Institute (FMRI) for a condition, which in a layman’s language is called the big head syndrome.

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Roona Begum, from a village in Tripura, was admitted on Tuesday night after a news agency approached FMRI. Begum, who is suffering from hydrocephalus, has an overgrown head with a circumference measuring 30-inch.

 “This is a congenital condition where the overgrowth starts in the womb. I have seen hundreds of such cases but this is an exception. Perhaps, this is the biggest in the world,” said Dr Sandeep Vaishya, additional director of neurosurgery at FMRI.

Begum is from a poor family and weighs barely 14 kg. Vaishya said that the skin at the back of her head is partly dead due to bedsores. She also suffers from a chest infection and her eyes are sunken. “She cannot sit, stand, crawl or walk due to the excessive weight of her head,” he added.

 Hydrocephalus, also known as water in the brain, is a condition wherein excessive cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain causing it to enlarge.

“The condition can be improved. The flow of the fluid can be diverted through a surgery but we need to examine her first. As the condition is too severe and she is underweight, we will have to work towards improving her health first,” explained Vaishya, who 18 years of experience.

 According to the hospital authorities, she is likely to be operated upon in the next 10 days.

“The surgery is very expensive. Basic cases of hydrocephalus cost R1.25 lakh. After the surgery, Begum will have to spend at least two-three weeks in the hospital. We are open to donations for her case,” said Vaishya, clarifying that she will have to stay for a month at FMRI.

 “Begum’s condition is very rare as her bones are still not fully grown, thereby causing it to escalate,” added Vaishya. According to him, one in 500 children in India suffer from this condition.

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