Parenting

Doctors Discover 'Startling' Brain Regrowth After Drowned Toddler's Oxygen Therapy

Eden Carlson was 23 months old when she fell into her family’s swimming pool in February 2016. The little girl was in the water for 15 minutes before she was found by her mother, who immediately began CPR. For nearly two hours Eden didn’t have a heartbeat and an MRI showed severe brain damage. Despite all of this, Eden is almost back to her old self again, thanks to oxygen therapy.

According to LSU Health,

The two-year-old girl experienced cardiac arrest after a cold water drowning accident in a swimming pool. After resuscitation at Arkansas Children’s Hospital, MRI revealed deep gray matter injury and cerebral atrophy with gray and white matter loss. She had no speech, gait or responsiveness to commands with constant squirming and head shaking at hospital discharge.

Dr. Paul Harch, clinical professor and director of hyperbaric medicine at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, was consulted for oxygen therapy. Fifty-five days after Eden’s near-drowning, Dr. Harch started Eden on 100% normobaric oxygen (oxygen at sea level) for 45 minutes twice per day, and the little girl showed improvement almost immediately.

The patient became more alert, awake and stopped squirming. Her rate of neurological improvement increased with laughing, increased movement of arms, hands, grasp with the left hand, partial oral feeding, eye tracking and short-sequenced speech (pre-drowning speech level, but with diminished vocabulary).

After this initial treatment, and 78 days after the drowning, Eden traveled to New Orleans for hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which she received for 45 minutes per day, five days a week, for a total of 40 sessions. In a hyperbaric chamber, a patient breathes in 100 percent oxygen in a total body chamber, which enhances the body’s healing process.

After only 10 sessions, Eden’s mom reported that her little girl was “near normal” with the exception of gross motor functions. So Eden’s team started physical therapy in conjunction with the oxygen therapy. An MRI a few weeks after the completion of hyperbaric oxygen therapy “demonstrated mild residual injury and near-complete reversal of cortical and white matter atrophy.”

“The startling regrowth of tissue in this case occurred because we were able to intervene early in a growing child, before long-term tissue degeneration,” notes Harch…”Such low-risk medical treatment may have a profound effect on recovery of function in similar patients who are neurologically devastated by drowning.”

Because Eden was so young, the oxygen therapy (which has virtually no negative side effects) allowed for incredible results.

Watch Eden’s story below: