Saturday, June 29, 2013

Tumor removed from thymus gland saves 13 year old from Myasthnia Gravis related death

Surgery removes tumor that caused Enya Dakin's myasthenia
 gravis (MG, a rare autoimmune disease)
 Picture: Jay Town Source: Herald Sun
Myasthenia Gravis can gradually develop and worsen over a period of months or even years. But sometimes it can strike with an immediate and powerful life threatening force. Because of a tumor on her thymus gland,  such was the case with 13 year old Enya Dakin. Myasthenis Gravis is a rare autoimmune condition. It is a neuromuscular disease in which the body generates an immune system attack against its own skeletal muscles. 14 out of every 100,000 persons in the USA suffer from the disease. 

Enya is lucky to have been diagnosed relatively quickly. And because of the severity that it
hit her, that rapid diagnoses probably saved her life. Brigid O'Connell brings us the wonderful story of young Enya's fight for recovery from Myasthenia Gravis.
First the 13-year-old started falling over, then her eyes began to droop and next she stopped being able to use her mouth.

First the 13-year-old started falling over, then her eyes began to droop and next she stopped being able to use her mouth. "It was so scary. I couldn't feel my legs," Enya said. Initial scans suggested a brain tumor but tests at the Royal Children's Hospital led neurologists to diagnose Enya with myasthenia gravis. 

The rare autoimmune disease provokes the body into making antibodies which interfere with the transmission of messages from nerves to muscles, but its cause is unknown. The RCH treats two to four children each year with the disease, but Director of Neurology Andrew Kornberg said he had seen none as sick as Enya. 

Further tests revealed she had an 8cm long tumor on her thymus gland, a small organ under the breastbone and between the lungs, becoming the first child in about 60 years to have the disease caused by a tumor. But the day after keyhole surgery to remove the benign tumor  Enya was rushed back to intensive care when her lung collapsed and she was unable to breathe. 

She was stabilized  but the same thing happened a week later when intensive care staff needed to crack open her chest to get her breathing again. After five weeks in intensive care on a respirator, with parents Franca and Paul by her side, Enya slowly regained strength and relearned how to walk and breathe on her own. She has returned home and is now back at school. 

Enya said she felt "80 per cent back to my old self", and was looking forward to walking around school with her friends at lunchtime and playing basketball again. "I'll never leave her by herself now," mum Franca said.

 "The hospital staff are unbelievable. They are genuinely concerned about the kids, and without them I wouldn't still have her."

Read More: The Mystery Guest, MG

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