updated 11/10/2003 8:05:15 PM ET 2003-11-11T01:05:15

Doctors placed a shunt in one of the formerly conjoined Egyptian twins to drain spinal fluid, and the 2-year-old’s condition was downgraded.

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Ahmed Ibrahim was in guarded condition early Thursday at Children’s Medical Center Dallas, a day after neurosurgeons placed the shunt. Doctors said the downgrade from good condition was common in such cases.

The shunt will drain spinal fluid from the boy’s lower back to his abdominal cavity, said Dr. James Thomas, chief of critical care services at Children’s. Shunts had been used for both twins earlier in the surgical process.

The boys, born joined at the head, were separated during a 34-hour operation Oct. 11-12.

Ahmed’s brother, Mohamed, remained in good condition, and hospital updates this week indicated he may soon be able to swallow liquid and solid food. On Tuesday, the hospital said he spent almost 45 minutes sitting upright and playing a toy drum.

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