AUSTIN -- First, amazing technology saved his life before he was born. Additional medical advancements since then have him on the road to a happy and healthy life.
It's a story we first brought you last July. Survivor of Prune Belly Syndrome, Eric, is just five months old.
Looking at him every day, it s like looking at a little miracle, said Megan Guzman, Eric s mom.
It was KVUE's first time meeting Eric, but we met Guzman last summer. Just 16 weeks into her pregnancy doctors determined her son suffered from a rare and often fatal condition known as fetal bladder obstruction. That s when the placenta stops producing amniotic fluid and the water around the baby which allows it to grow and develop inside the womb.
When I went in when he was 16 weeks, you couldn t see him, said Guzman. You could barely see his head because he was being squished by his stomach.
Doctors at St. David s Women s Center of Texas went through the mother s and baby s stomachs to insert a shunt. It bypassed the blockage and allowed the fluid to exit, saving Eric s kidneys while he was in the womb.
However, once born, he would require bladder obstruction surgery. That was performed by pediatric urologist and the founder of Children s Urology, Dr. Jose Cortez. He says babies who suffer from fetal bladder obstruction develop what s called Prune Belly Syndrome after they re born.
They have the very characteristic potbellied, wrinkly appearance of the abdominal wall, said Cortez. That s because of deficient abdominal wall musculature.
Cortez says the external appearance isn t the main concern. He says the real focus is on how well the urinary tract and kidneys have developed.
It s the urinary tract problems that these babies have that determine quality of life, survivability and long term outcomes, he said.
Cortez performed a procedure that improved Eric s kidney function to normal levels. Guzman remains amazed at the medical advancements that have given her son a chance to, not only survive, but live a normal life.
I love it, she said. I thank God every day for all the technology and the doctors and everybody and everything they can do. Now he won t need a kidney transplant or dialysis or anything, so it saved him so much.
Eric will need one final surgery when he s a year old to fix the problem once and for all. Go here for more information on children's urology and here for more information on St. David s Women s Center of Texas.