The Upshot

Trisomy 18 in spotlight following Bella Santorum’s hospitalization

The Upshot

There is speculation (though no confirmation) that the hospitalization of Rick Santorum's three-year-old daughter, Isabella, is related to Trisomy 18, the rare genetic condition she suffers from.

News of Bella's sudden hospitalization sent off a massive number of searches for Trisomy 18. Over the course of just one hour, Yahoo! searches for "trisomy 18" surged 1,022%. Related lookups for "trisomy 18 syndrome" spiked 375%.

According to experts, Trisomy 18 is often fatal. According to an organization dedicated to raising awareness, the disorder occurs about 1 in every 3,000 live births. The condition's name refers to when a baby has three number 18 chromosomes.

[Related: Rick Santorum campaign profile]

Babies who have Trisomy 18 suffer from many trying conditions. There are kidney problems, heart defects, developmental delays, and issues with the intestinal tract and esophagus.

Trisomy 18 can be screened for and diagnosed for during pregnancy. According to the California Department of Health Services, about 80% of children with Trisomy 18 are female. Only 5 to 10% of infants born with Trisomy 18 survive beyond one year. Those who do survive are often girls.

Rick Santorum has consistently referred to Bella on the campaign trail. She was hospitalized several months ago for pneumonia. Santorum called her recovery "miraculous."

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