Oxygen Therapy Reverses Brain Damage In Drowned Toddler

Henrietta Brewer
July 21, 2017

Specialists say they were able to reverse the brain damage, despite the girl showing deep grey matter injury and cerebral atrophy. The brain damage seen in the immediate aftermath of her near drowning was almost entirely reversed.

Two-year-old Eden Carlson from the USA miraculously recovered from #brain damage after escaping death from drowning in her family's pool in February past year.

Family members said Eden was not breathing and had no pulse when she was found between 10 and 15 minutes after she first got into the water.

In HBOT, patients are administered oxygen at higher than atmospheric pressure in a sealed chamber - to increase the amount of oxygen in a patient's blood.

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.


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. She could speak. Today, she's able to climb up stairs on a play set by herself.

An MRI after extensive rounds of both oxygen therapy types revealed that the brain damage first found had been nearly completely reversed.

Much to the surprise of her family and doctors, Eden was then able to gain control of her hands, slowly moving and waving her arms.

Harch proposed a bridging course of normobaric oxygen treatments, with oxygen being administered at sea level pressure.

The now 3-year-old Eden and her miraculous recovery are subject of a paper in a medical journal, and her parents are hopeful that she's on the way back to being just like the other kids her age. Each session lasted for about 45 minutes starting 55 days after the drowning accident. Thanks to it, she started being more alert and awake and even stopped squirming.


After 78 days, Eden began HBOT therapy, with 45 minute sessions five days per week for four weeks. Still, it may nonetheless help indicate that the low-risk medical treatment used may have "a profound effect" on the function recovery in patients that suffered similar accidents.

"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 stated in press materials.

Doctors said that the oxygen treatments, which helped with the dramatic reversal of Carlson's severe brain damage, encourage the brain cells to survive and reduce swelling.

Results showed Eden had a speech level greater than pre-drowning, near normal motor function, normal cognition, improvement on almost all neurological exams and was able to discontinue her medication. "Although it's impossible to conclude from this single case if the sequential application of normobaric oxygen then HBOT would be more effective than HBOT alone, in the absence of HBOT therapy, short duration, repetitive normobaric oxygen therapy may be an option until HBOT is available".


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