Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center | Our Patients' Stories

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Back from the brink: Bryan’s life-threatening AVM

Bryan Thomas was rushed to the emergency room with a bleeding arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in his brain. Quick but careful teamwork defused the “ticking time bomb” — safely removing the AVM and saving his life.

Twin surgeries bring a stroke of luck

Eight-year-old twins Ryan and Tyler had moyamoya disease on both sides of their brains. Ryan had already had two strokes as a result. Both boys underwent an operation called pial synangiosis that restored blood flow to their brains — and with it their future.

Parents-to-be travel to Boston for their son’s vein of Galen malformation

A prenatal ultrasound found a vein of Galen malformation in Alex Martin’s brain that threatened to compromise his heart function. Alex’s parents drive 17 hours from South Carolina for his delivery and eventual treatment — guided by a 3D-printed model of his malformed vessels.

Brain hemorrhage threatens to put a hockey career on ice

Wyatt Schlaht and his dad were driving to hockey practice when he suddenly had a seizure. A cavernous malformation, a mass of blood vessels in his brain, had caused a large blood clot. Neurosurgeons at Boston Children’s used stereotactic navigation — an image-guided GPS-like system — to safely remove the clot and the malformation. Wyatt is now back on the ice.

3D printing guides a tricky brain surgery

Two years ago, Adam Stedman had a seizure out of the blue. It was caused by had an arteriovenous malformation, or AVM, a tangle of abnormally connected arteries and veins. His neurosurgeon, Ed Smith, MD, but wanted to rehearse the tricky operation to remove it in advance. That’s how Adam became one of the first patients to have his blood-vessel anatomy reproduced through 3D printing technology. His one-year follow-up angiogram, at age 17, was completely normal.

My sister couldn’t be tamed by a brain hemorrhage

Pedaling her stationary bike, 14-year-old Carly Coughlin felt a sharp pain in her head and quickly became lethargic and unresponsive, in extreme pain. An arteriovenous malformation (AVM) had burst and hemorrhaged in her brain. Medflighted to Boston from Cape Cod, Carly had the AVM safely removed. Eight weeks later, with well wishes from Tom Brady, she was back in school with aspirations to be a neurosurgeon.

From Bermuda to Boston: Protecting the brain of a boy with sickle cell disease

Calvin Steede suddenly found that his arms weren’t working. He had suffered a minor stroke, a complication of sickle cell disease. It was the start of a journey that led to him having surgery for moyamoya disease, another potential complication of sickle cell disease that may have caused the stroke. Calvin, 11, continues to be monitored at home in Bermuda.

Relieving the pressure: Yousef’s vein of Galen procedure

When Yousef was two days old, a doctor burst into his mother’s hospital room in Kuwait City to tell her that he had high pressure in his heart. An echo showed nothing in his heart, but found a vein of Galen malformation deep in his brain. Two hospitals in France and England said they could operate only after his first birthday. Boston Children’s treated him much sooner, with a catheter-based technique.

Rolensky’s story: Saving his heart by fixing his brain

Rolensky was flown from Haiti to Boston Children’s Hospital with a failing heart. But there was nothing structurally wrong with his heart. Instead, he had a rare blood vessel abnormality in his brain: a vein of Galen malformation. A procedure called embolization closed it up and relieved the stress on his heart.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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