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April 9th, 2012
01:51 PM ET

Santorum's daughter to leave hospital

Former Sen. Rick Santorum's daughter Isabella was released from the hospital Monday night, a spokesman tells CNN. The GOP presidential candidate interrupted his campaign Friday, when his 3-year-old daughter was hospitalized for reasons the campaign did not disclose.

Isabella suffers from a chromosomal disorder called Trisomy 18, where extra genetic material is present on chromosome 18. The extra material interferes with normal development, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“We appreciate the outpouring of support and prayers," said spokesman Hogan Gidley. "The prayers worked, she’s doing much better, so we’re thankful for that.  It puts things in perspective.”

Santorum expects to return to the campaign trail Tuesday.

Santorum has been outspoken and candid about his family's struggle against Trisomy 18, as he did when he sat down for a Red Chair interview (above) with CNN back in November.

Trisomy 18 occurs in about 1 in 5000 live births, according to the NIH, but many fetuses with this disorder do not survive a full pregnancy.

The NIH describes Trisomy 18 as "a relatively common syndrome," which is 3 times more likely in girls than in boys. It causes severe developmental and medical problems, including heart defects and defects to other organs prior to birth, shortened breast bones and club feet. Unlike Down syndrome, where a child has 3 copies of chromosome 21, developmental issues in Trisomy 18 are linked to medical complications that are more potentially life-threatening in the early months and years of life, according to the Trisomy 18 Foundation.

Children with Trisomy 18 sometimes can't cough or clear their throat so fluid will accumulate in the lungs, making them susceptible to respiratory failure.

In the past, Isabella has had pneumonia in both her lungs.

About 90% of children born with Trisomy 18 die within their first year of life, but a small number have gone on to reach adulthood into their 20s and 30s, although they've been severely impaired.

"She has a disorder called Trisomy 18, which we were told is incompatible with life," Santorum told CNN in November. "Well, we're showing that that's not only not true, but it is really the center of our life."


Filed under: Children's Health • Genetics

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.