Separated twins improve at Los Angeles hospital

Sunday, August 11th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Guatemalan twins born joined at the head and separated in a lengthy operation were more alert Sunday, and doctors reduced their sedation medication, hospital officials said.

Though Maria de Jesus Quiej Alvarez and sister Maria Teresa were in critical condition, their vital signs remained stable.

``Both are tolerating the intravenous nutrition fairly well,'' said UCLA Medical Center spokeswoman Roxanne Moster.

Meanwhile, medication used to sedate the two girls has been reduced.

``Maria de Jesus is much more alert and even looking around,'' Moster said.

Doctors said she may be making more progress because she didn't undergo the five extra hours of surgery that Maria Teresa endured to remove a buildup of blood on her brain.

The sisters were born in rural Guatemala and shared bone and blood vessels at the top of the head but had separate brains. Such cases occur in fewer than one in 2.5 million live births.

They were separated Tuesday in a more than 22-hour operation and still face follow-up surgeries to reconstruct their skulls.