Baby who suffered massive stroke after 'ticking time bomb' blood clot burst in brain makes miracle recovery
Jacob was born with a group of malformed blood vessels in his brain, which burst when he was two weeks oldParents could only watch and wait as surgeons battled to save him. They were told he might never walk
Doctors told family Jacob had a healthy brain in February this year
11:25 GMT, 20 September 2012
No stopping him: Jacob Edwards took his first steps just after his first birthday
A baby who suffered a massive stroke after a 'ticking time bomb' of malformed blood vessels burst in his brain, has made a miraculous recovery.
Jacob Edwards fell ill when he was just two weeks old. He was rushed to hospital where surgeons had to perform a risky operation to remove a blood clot from his brain to reduce the pressure.
However, they were unable to remove all of it because it was too deep in Jacob’s brain.
His parents Hayley Leon and Lee
Edwards, from Coventry, were warned it could burst again and their son
may be left with with brain damage.
But doctors were left stunned when a brain scan showed the Arteriovenous malformation – or AVM – had vanished.
Now Jacob, 15 months, has beat the odds by learning to walk and talk – something his parents feared he may never do.
Hayley, 30, said: 'It’s amazing. We’re so proud of him. Not a day goes by when I don’t think about what happened. It could have been so different.
'We were very close to losing him.'
Jacob seemed healthy when he was born in July last year. But when he was two weeks old, he woke up screaming and vomiting.
couple, who also have two older sons, Callum, 11, and five-year-old
Jack, immediately took him to University Hospital, Coventry, where
doctors thought he had gastroenteritis.
said: 'Jacob was getting worse by the hour. He was slipping in and out
of consciousness. Lee noticed his left eye was lifeless.
'He asked the doctors to check it and that’s when they knew something was seriously wrong.
'They did a CT scan and told us they had found a bleed on his brain. Lee and I didn’t know what to say. It’s not something that happens to you. It happens to other people. We were in total shock.'
Jacob was placed on a life support machine before being rushed to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for more specialist care.
Full time mother Hayley said: 'A special ambulance came to pick him up. We weren’t allowed to go with him because there wasn’t enough room.
'It was horrible leaving him. I just wanted to be with him and to make him better.
'When we got there, they took him for an MRI scan. We were taken into a side room and the surgeon came to see us.
After his operation: Surgeons didn't manage to remove all of the AVM, but the rest disappeared by itself
'We had to sign a consent form for emergency surgery. It said the main risk was death but without surgery, he would die.
'My heart was breaking as the word death was mentioned a lot.
'Lee likes to keep his emotions to himself but he was the most upset. He kept saying: ‘he can’t leave us yet.’ He was really panicking. But it was out of our hands so we just had to trust the surgeon.'
Doctors explained to the couple they still didn’t know what had caused the bleed but that they needed to remove it and reduce the pressure in his brain immediately to stop any further damage.
Amazingly, Jacob survived the six-hour operation but he remained in a critical condition in intensive care.
Jacob's brain before the operation: The malformed area can be seen bottom right
Hayley said: 'A nurse brought us to see him. It was horrible. It didn’t look like him. His head was really swollen and so were his eyes.
'He had a tube coming out of his head to drain all the fluid from his brain. He had so many wires coming out of him I was scared to touch him.'
A scan showed the operation had been a success but surgeons were unable to remove all of the AVM.
Three days later, Jacob was taken off his life support machine to see if he could breathe on his own.
To everyone’s amazement, he took his first breaths unaided and was later moved to the high dependency unit, where he continued to make progress.
Due to the stroke, Jacob suffered weakness on his left side so severe he couldn’t even hold his head up and he needed intensive physiotherapy.
After two weeks in hospital, doctors were so pleased with Jacob’s progress, he was discharged.
Hayley said: 'I was so scared to bring him home as at this time he still had the AVM inside his brain and there was a very high chance of it bleeding again. I didn’t sleep and didn’t leave the house for weeks.
'We had to go back and forth to hospital for scans, which was awful as he had to be put to sleep. They had to check his brain for any damage.'
In February this year, Jacob had an angiogram, where a special dye is used to take pictures of blood flow to the brain.
Hayley said: 'The doctor came to see us and said it had gone. He told us Jacob had a healthy brain. He was gob-smacked and so were we.
'But he was still having difficulty lifting his head and he couldn’t crawl.
'At his development check, we were told he probably had cerebral palsy and he may not walk. We didn’t know what the future held for our brave boy.'
Hayley and Lee (left) could only watch and wait while their son underwent emergency surgery that could have killed him
But three days after his first birthday, Jacob took his first steps.
Now there is no stopping him and he continues to amaze his parents and doctors.
Hayley said: 'He’s going from strength to strength and is reaching all his milestones. He’s so determined.
'I can’t thank the staff at both hospitals enough for saving my baby’s life. They are my heroes.'
Neurosurgeon Mr Desiderio Rodrigues, from Birmimgham Childrens Hospital, who performed life-saving surgery on Jacob
Jacob’s neurosurgeon, Mr Desiderio Rodrigues, from Birmimgham Children’s Hospital said: 'Jacob was in a very poor state in coma when he was presented to the hospital and had to be intubated and ventilated prior to transfer.
'The scan showed a large blood clot in the back of his brain. It was obstructing the flow of the cerebro spinal fluid, which travels from the brain to the spine.
'I performed an operation to relieve the pressure and then remove the clot from the back of the brain.
'I spoke to the parents prior to the operation and told them it was a high risk operation. The child could even bleed profusely and die during surgery, as the emergency scan had not identified the cause for the bleed.
'There was no choice but as a life saving measure to take the risk and operate.
'During surgery I found a leash of abnormal blood vessels which were the cause of the clot.
'I only removed part of it and follow up MRI scans have showed whatever was left has now gone.
The angiogram has confirmed that Jacob has no residual AVM.
'We are very pleased with his progress.'