Toddler Who Drowned for 15 Minutes Fully Recovers After Cutting-Edge Treatment

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Eden Carlson went into cardiac arrest after falling into the family pool in February 2016, and although she was resuscitated at Arkansas Children's hospital, she had technically been brain dead for two hours by the time medical staff were able to revive her.

"She had gone through her baby gate, pushed open a heavy door, and gotten into the pool". Eden was found after struggling in cold water for at least 10 minutes, without a heartbeat, the station reports. She also was able to be taken off all medications. Initially, she was given oxygen at sea-level pressure. An MRI showed she had suffered a deep gray matter injury to her brain and cerebral atrophy with gray and white matter loss, according to officials at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center New Orleans. That happened 78 days after she almost drowned.

When Carlson was discharged from hospital she had no speech ability, gait or any responsiveness to commands, and was constantly squirming and shaking her head.

USA scientists have successfully reversed brain damage sustained by a downed and resuscitated toddler, using a combination of oxygen therapies to rollback injuries that left the child unable to speak or walk.

Twenty-three days after the normobaric oxygen therapy began, Eden and her family travelled to New Orleans, where Dr. Harch and his colleagues began treating her with HBOT.

But other experts had serious concerns about the report, saying that the authors did not provide evidence that the oxygen treatments helped at all in Eden's recovery.

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Eden was given oxygen treatments at various levels for a period of time after her accident, and moved to New Orleans from the local hospital, which contained the nearest hyperbaric chamber - and that's when her hyperbaric oxygen therapy began. "We wanted her so much to recover and we started to look at different alternative methods that had been used to help people who had suffered from brain injuries". Her speech started to improve, although her vocabulary appeared to be diminished.

With all the attention being placed on Eden, the success of hyperbaric oxygen therapy after near drownings could become a more popular option.

While she showed small signs of improvement within the month after the accident, like recognizing her mother's voice, doctors thought there was a chance they could do more using oxygen therapy.

"She was not speaking, she was not eating, she had a feeding tube", mother Kristal Carlson said. The brain damage seen in the immediate aftermath of her near drowning was almost entirely reversed.

And Eden's experience perfectly drives home that point, Harch said.

"The startling regrowth of tissue in this case occurred because we were able to intervene early in a growing child, before long-term tissue degeneration", Harch said in a statement.