Doctors Managed To Save A 2-Year Old Who Drowned In A Pool From Severe Brain Damage

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Researchers in the US reported what they think is the first-of-its-kind reversal of brain damage, after treating a drowned and resuscitated little girl with a combination of oxygen therapies.

Doctors Managed To Save A 2-Year Old Who Drowned In A Pool From Severe Brain Damage

Researchers in the US reported what they think is the first-of-its-kind reversal of brain damage, after treating a drowned and resuscitated little girl with a combination of oxygen therapies.


The two-year-old girl, whose heart didn't beat on for two hours after drowning, presented deep grey matter injury as well as cerebral atrophy with grey and white matter loss. She could no longer speak, walk, or respond to stimulation; she only uncontrollably squirmed around and shook her head.


However, a team from LSU Health New Orleans and the University of North Dakota made a miracle happen. Thanks to a course of oxygen treatments, which included hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), doctors managed to significantly reverse the girl's brain damage experienced by the toddler.


The drowning occurred last February when little Eden Carlson slipped through a baby gate while her mom was taking a shower, then made it past a massive door, before eventually falling into the family pool.



The girl was in the water for fifteen minutes before being found and had experienced cardiac arrest. While her mother immediately started CPR, Eden wasn't successfully resuscitated for two hours, being finally revived by doctors at Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville in Arkansas.


After receiving critical care in hospital for almost two months, the little girl was discharged. However, because of the extent of her brain injuries and their physical side effects, Harch suggested treatment with oxygen therapies to "wake up" Eden's brain.


Hyperbaric oxygen therapy works by administering oxygen to the patient at an ambient pressure which is higher than atmospheric pressure, via a sealed, pressurized chamber.


Then, the amount of oxygen in a patient's blood supply is raised, which restores normal levels of blood gases and repairs damaged tissue.


In that case, Eden was not located close enough to a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber. The team then started a bridging course of normobaric oxygen treatments at 55 days after the drowning.


The treatments, given for forty-five minutes twice a day via a nasal cannula, helped Eden recover alertness and lowered her squirming, giving her back raised movement of her arms and hands.


The girl also regained part of her ability to eat orally, speak short sequences, and laugh.


About three weeks later, the scientists moved Eden and family to New Orleans, where the girl started a round of new treatments in a hyperbaric chamber.


After only ten sessions, Eden's mother noticed that the toddler was back to almost normal, except for gross motor function. So the little girl started physical therapy along with the hyperbaric treatment.


Once thirty-nine hyperbaric sessions were completed, Eden's walking had improved. Also, her speech level was assessed to be greater than it was when she drowned. She demonstrated improvement on all neurological abnormality tests and showed almost normal motor function and cognition.


To conclude, approximately 162 days after Eden drowned, MRI scans revealed that the girl still bore a mild residual injury to the brain, but she had experienced an almost complete reversal of cortical and white matter atrophy.



The team studying Eden's recovery said that to their knowledge, this type of reversal is "unreported with any therapy."


The findings are reported in Medical Gas Research.


Other scientists, however, have voiced their concerns regarding whether the oxygen treatments administered to the girl could explain her recovery as proposed in the study.


For what it's worth, the FDA warns people that hyperbaric treatments have been touted to deliver a variety of medical benefits for several ailments, although many of the results aren't clinically proven.


Concerning whether the treatment and recovery, in this case, were more than just a coincidence is unclear. Hopefully, future research into HBOT will clarify whether we've got a really viable solution to these types of brain injuries.


Reference: Science Alert

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Thinking Humanity: Doctors Managed To Save A 2-Year Old Who Drowned In A Pool From Severe Brain Damage
Doctors Managed To Save A 2-Year Old Who Drowned In A Pool From Severe Brain Damage
Researchers in the US reported what they think is the first-of-its-kind reversal of brain damage, after treating a drowned and resuscitated little girl with a combination of oxygen therapies.
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