Achieving seizure control through neurostimulation. In 2020, Boston Children's Hospital celebrated a breakthrough when Emma Coto, a Florida native, emerged as the hospital's youngest recipient of responsive neurostimulation treatment. This advanced procedure involves implanting a neurostimulator device in the head to thwart seizures, marking a pivotal moment in Emma's ongoing battle against epilepsy.
Emma's medical odyssey commenced when, at a mere 72 hours old, she faced respiratory arrest, a likely catalyst for her epilepsy. Over the years, her parents, Lynda and Danny Coto, explored various medical avenues, ultimately finding hope at Boston Children's Hospital in 2020.
Neurostimulation Requires The Implant Of A Small Electrical Device
Responsive neurostimulation entails the implantation of a small electrical device beneath the scalp, delivering minute electrical charges to the brain 250 times a day. Despite typically being FDA-approved for adults, Emma's case presented unique challenges, including uncertainties about insurance coverage for this unconventional yet promising treatment.
The Cotos' tenacity paid off, with Emma undergoing the procedure and, at the age of 11, now leading a life free from seizures. The neurostimulator, resembling the lower portion of an antiquated flip phone, has proven instrumental in averting clinical seizures, enabling Emma to excel in academics, sports, and music.
Refusal To Accept Gloomy Predictions
The parents' refusal to accept earlier gloomy predictions led them to Boston Children's Hospital, where responsive neurostimulation offered newfound hope. Lynda, a registered nurse, challenged conventional approaches and explored alternatives beyond medications and surgeries. The breakthrough came when she stumbled upon RNS while researching epilepsy treatments online. The Epilepsy Foundation notes that patients undergoing RNS typically experience a 50% reduction in seizures within two years.
Despite the transformative potential of neurostimulation in epilepsy treatment, the procedure comes with a significant cost, necessitating the Cotos to prove they had exhausted all other options for insurance coverage. Neurologists meticulously mapped Emma's brain activity before surgically implanting the device, which is remotely programmed to recognize and intercept early seizure activity with minor electrical bursts.
Success With RNS
Emma's success with RNS not only underscores its potential to transform lives but also advocates for broader accessibility to this life-altering treatment. Manufacturers are lobbying for a lower approval age to alleviate the financial burden on parents, recognizing the potential benefits for countless patients.
Responsive neurostimulation has not only reshaped Emma's life but also stands as a beacon of hope for others grappling with epilepsy. It highlights the significance of innovative solutions in pediatric healthcare, showcasing the potential of neurostimulation in seizure control.
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