Ticker Fine, but not the Lyme

Here is another interesting story.  This time, the subject is a 10 year old with heart problems.  Fortunately, the patient was diagnosed with Lyme disease.  Unfortunately, the patient was not treated for Lyme disease, but instead, for heart problems via painful surgery and a pacemaker.

 A couple of important items to be aware of:

 First, the article claims Lyme is rare in Ohio and rarer during winter.  Based on the patient’s symptoms (heart problems, twitching), the patient (Lucille Ashford) most likely has advanced stage Lyme disease).   I would also presume that it has been dormant in her for a long period.

 Second, there have been an estimated 10,000 cases of Lyme in the state of Ohio since 1980, so to say the disease is rare in Ohio is misleading.

Excerpted from Cleveland.com  ( Posted: 3/03/2010 )

CLEVELAND, Ohio — As Lucille Ashford’s mom raced the 10-year-old toward a Cleveland emergency room last month, the girl lost consciousness. Lucille’s heart was struggling to keep her alive.

Doctors quickly intervened and saved the child’s life. Then it took a team at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital a couple of days, a slew of tests and even more cooperation from the exceptionally brave child to figure out what was wrong.

Lucille had Lyme disease, and it nearly killed her.

The disease is rare in Ohio, and even more rare during winter. Only about 5 percent of children with Lyme disease have heart issues, let alone problems that threaten their lives, said Lucille’s doctor, Yasser Al-Khatib.

Lucille had been sick on-and-off for a week. Her mom, Geizel Canady-Ashford, figured it was a flu bug.

But when Lucille fainted on Feb. 22, mom rushed the girl to MetroHealth Medical Center‘s emergency room.

Doctors there realized Lucille had a heart block. Electrical impulses in her heart were misfiring, causing the heart not to pump, Dr. Mark Feingold said. It’s rare in children, and MetroHealth called Rainbow Babies, which has provided MetroHealth with pediatric cardiology services for several years.

View full sizeThomas Ondrey / The PD”This is a brave, mature 10-year-old girl,” says Dr. Yasser Al-Khatib of Lucille Ashford, above.Rainbow’s Dr. Yasser Al-Khatib was driving toward Akron when he was told a 10-year-old with heart block was coming in. Knowing the child was in trouble, he headed for the hospital.

When she got to Rainbow, Lucille’s heart was beating 20 times a minute — not enough activity to keep her alive. Doctors had to address that immediately.

They hooked Lucille to an external pacemaker. The electric current produced an unreliable heart rhythm. Her shoulder muscles spasmed, but the effort kept Lucille alive until a pacing wire could be put into her heart, Al-Khatib said.

Accomplishing that next step, though, was not easy, and proved extraordinarily painful for the girl. Most patients receive anesthesia during this procedure, as doctors insert the wire through a vein in the neck. Lucille couldn’t have any. Anesthesia would slow her heart too much, and Al-Khatib couldn’t go in through the neck anyway because the girl’s shoulders were twitching.

The team moved to Plan B. Anesthesiologists talked Lucille through this procedure with nothing but a topical numbing agent. Al-Khatib inserted the pacing wire through her groin.

View full sizeOnce the external pacemaker was off and the wire inserted into her heart, Lucille’s body quit twitching. Her pulse and blood pressure returned.

Then, Al-Khatib went ahead with the standard procedure, removing the wire from Lucille’s groin and reinserting it into the heart through her jugular — again without anesthesia.

He said Lucille’s heart stopped beating for about 10 seconds when the wire was moved.

“This is a brave, mature 10-year-old girl,” Al-Khatib said.

At this stage, my biggest concern is that if Lucille is not properly treated for Lyme disease then she faces the risk of it becoming chronic later on.

For the full article: http://www.cleveland.com/healthfit/index.ssf/2010/03/youth_recovering_from_lyme_dis.html

~ by Rob on March 4, 2010.

2 Responses to “Ticker Fine, but not the Lyme”

  1. Absolutely a brave girl~I cannot imagine what she has gone through.
    “Lucille had been sick on-and-off for a week. Her mom, Geizel Canady-Ashford, figured it was a flu bug.

    But when Lucille fainted on Feb. 22, mom rushed the girl to MetroHealth Medical Center’s emergency room.”
    This is NOT refering to the initial infection with Lyme – most likely due to the symptoms from her heart not functioning properly & ultimately leading to her fainting. I have had undiagnosed Lyme for 8 yrs and passed out last summer…gained consciousness with chest pain and headache and “off-balance” feeling, and a myriad of other symptoms (again…went through similar things 8 yrs prior). All heart ECG’s were normal, blood work did not indicate heart trouble – it wasn’t until I had a Thallium stress test that the radiologist recognized the defects caused by the bacteria. This poor little girl definitely needs treatment for Lyme disease and co-infections.

  2. Melissa,

    You are absolutely right. Lucille is an incredible little girl. And between all she has been through, she is fortunate that the Children’s Hospital was able to correct her immediate needs.

    As you can see from my commentary, it is essential that her doctors and family don’t dismiss the Lyme problem. It may stay silent in her system for years before overtaking her respiratory and nervous system. Yet, if treated early enough, the bacteria can be controlled.

    Many Lyme patients are in denial and are not concerned until their symptoms become unbearable. Generally, this occurs in “Late Stage Lyme” where treating it is much more difficult.

    I wish Lucille, Geizel and the entire family the best of luck. They are all brave and heroic.


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