A toddler urgently needs a life-saving abdominal transplant after being born without stomach muscles.
Albert, two, from Harrow, London, was born with extremely wrinkly skin on his torso that left him looking ‘like an old man’.
At just four days old, the youngster was diagnosed with Prune Belly Syndrome (PBS).
As well as having no abdominal muscles and severe renal problems, Albert’s condition also causes him to suffer sickness, kidney disease, recurrent urinary tract infections, bloating and constipation.
His desperate mother Irina Crete, 28, who was told to abort Albert, is speaking out to help fundraise £55,000 towards his surgery.
The operation, which transfer muscles from sufferers’ thighs to their abdominal walls, is only available in the US due to PBS being so rare. The condition affects around one in 40,000 births.
Muscle needs to be taken from patients’ thighs due to this area of the body being the least affected by losing tissue.
Toddler Albert urgently needs a life-saving abdominal transplant after being born without stomach muscles. His condition causes severe renal problems, as well as sickness
Albert’s mother Irina Crete says surgery is the only option for her son to live a normal life. Due to his condition being so rare, he must travel to the US for the £55,000 operation
Albert was born with a wrinkly torso, which caused him to spend over a month in intensive care
‘I need my son to live a normal life and he needs to have abs’
Speaking of her son’s condition, Ms Crete said: ‘When I was pregnant they told us there were problems and suggested we terminated the pregnancy.
‘But because they couldn’t tell us exactly what was wrong and because I desperately wanted my son, I ignored their advice.
‘When he was born his body was covered in wrinkles – he looked more like an old man than a day old baby.
‘But it wasn’t until four days after we found out what was wrong with him and all of the complications that came along with Prune Belly Syndrome.
‘I need my son to live a normal life and he needs to have abs, so I’m pleading for donations to help him get this surgery.’
Although now at home, Ms Crete claims the condition leaves him ‘on death’s door’ many days
The youngster is frequently hospitalised with sickness and constipation due to his disorder
Albert also often battles a fever due to his condition causing urinary tract infections
Other complications of the disorder include kidney disease and bloating (pictured)
WHAT IS PRUNE BELLY SYNDROME?
Prune Belly Syndrome (PBS) occurs when babies are born without abdominal muscles, causing the skin on their torsos to wrinkle and appear ‘prune like’.
PBS affects around one in 40,000 births, with 97 per cent of sufferers being male.
As well as lacking abdominal muscles, one of the main symptoms of PBS is undescended testicles.
Others symptoms, which vary in severity between patients, can include:
- Enlarged bladder and kidneys
- Heart defects
- Spine malformations
- Club foot
- Digestive issues
PBS’ cause is unclear but may be releated to a genetic mutation.
This may lead to a blockage in the flow of urine in the urinary tract, causing it to flow back to the bladder, enlarging the organ.
Treatment options vary depending on PBS’ severity, but generally require babies have surgery to repair their abdominal muscles, as well as relieving any genital or bladder problems.
Antibiotics may be required to prevent or treat urinary tract infections.
Source: Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center
Toddler left ‘on death’s door’
After discovering her son’s diagnosis, Ms Crete fought tirelessly to help Albert lead a normal life.
She said: ‘From the moment he was born he was rushed into intensive care and was left there for over a month.
‘The problem is that his syndrome can change very quickly – one day he can be absolutely fine, the next he can be on death’s door.
‘After doing my research into his condition and into ways to help him lead a normal life, I discovered he could have surgery to give him the abs he wasn’t born with.
‘But the surgery is only in the United States at the moment as his condition is very rare and the surgery even rarer.
She added: ‘As soon as I knew that there was surgery available, there was no other option but to get him over there.
‘The surgery is going to take muscle from his thigh and transplant it into his abs, giving him the muscles that he’s missing.
‘This will help with his digestion and respiratory function, and hopefully eradicate all of the other problems he has faced because of the condition.
‘We’re currently over a third of the way there, so hopefully my little boy will be getting his abs any day now!’
Donate towards Albert’s surgery here.
Ms Crete knew in her pregnancy something was wrong with Albert (pictured as a newborn)
Due to doctors being unable to say what was wrong, Ms Crete continued with the pregnancy
Ms Crete (pictured with Albert as a newborn) hopes her son will have abs ‘any day now’