Hu Jingxuan Hu Jingni
Hu Jingxuan and Hu Jingni, shared a liver, spleen, gall bladder and digestive tract before the surgery to separate them.
updated 7/7/2006 11:20:50 AM ET 2006-07-07T15:20:50

Doctors successfully separated 10-month-old conjoined twin girls, though their condition remained precarious due to heart and other problems, a hospital official said Friday.

The girls, Hu Jingxuan and Hu Jingni, shared a liver, spleen, gall bladder and digestive tract before the surgery, which lasted 13 hours, said an official in the administrative office of Fudan University Children’s Hospital, where the surgery took place.

The official refused to give her name, as is often the case with Chinese not authorized to speak to media. She said the children, while relatively stable for now, run the risk of organ failure and malnutrition and will need several more operations.

The twins’ deformity was very rare, and the surgery was the first of its kind, the state-run newspaper Shanghai Daily quoted Gui Yonghao, president of Fudan University Children’s Hospital, as saying.

“It would have been a miracle for one child to survive and a challenge for the limits of medicine for both to survive. We made it,” Gui said.

Both twins suffer from congenital heart disease. The stronger of the two, Jingni, was moved to an intensive care unit after she was separated from her sister late Thursday. Jingxuan remained in the operating room because of her frail condition, the report said.

Doctors said they were forced to operate because the babies’ condition was deteriorating and they had stopped gaining weight.

The hospital, which has conducted numerous separation operations, began planning the girls’ surgery right after their birth. A business group in Taizhou, the twins’ hometown, raised more than $25,000 to help pay for their treatment, reports said.

The twins were born weighing a total of 10 pounds. Before surgery, they weighed 16 pounds, it said. They looked thin and frail in photos provided by the hospital.

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