A 19-year-old Iraqi girl, suffering from a rare spinal disease, which affects blood supply in the spinal cord, got a new lease of life after undergoing surgery at a hospital in Delhi.
Nuha Mohanad Hani was suffering from spinal arteriovenous malformation (AVM), a rare form of disorder in which there is an abnormal tangle of blood vessels in or near the spinal cord.
It can permanently damage the spinal cord if not treated on time, said Dr P N Renjen, senior consultant of Neurology at the Indraprastha Apollo Hospital.
Oxygen-rich blood generally enters the spinal cord through arteries which further branches into smaller blood vessels called capillaries. After delivering oxygen to the spinal cord, blood then passes into veins that drain it away from the spinal cord to the heart and lungs.
"However, in spinal AVM, the blood passes directly from arteries to the veins, bypassing the capillaries. This disorder in blood flow deprives the surrounding cells of vital oxygen, causing cells in the spinal tissues to deteriorate or die," Dr Renjen explained.
It can also cuse rupture of arteries and veins causing bleeding in the spinal cord, called hemorrhage.
Nuha was suffering from progressive quadriplegia, paralysis caused by illness or injury resulting into partial or total loss of use of all the four limbs and torso. She was suffering from this condition for over a month and also had urine and stool incontinence.
"We found out that she had an injury two months back followed by quadriplegia and breathing issues. She was treated for this in her country, but did not respond well to it and her condition kept on worsening," Dr Renjen said.
He said, "We performed digital subtraction angiography with Embolisation of spinal AVM along with C7-D1 on her. She responded well to the treatment and was discharged within few days after the surgery."
Nuha said, "I am grateful to Dr Renjen and his team for giving me this new life. The thought of that terrible pain that I used to have, makes me shiver even now. I was unable to walk and used to be dependant on others even for my daily tasks."
According to Dr Harsh Rastogi, senior consultant, radiology, at the hospital, the incidence of AVM is estimated at one in 1,00,000. An estimated two-thirds of AVMs occur before the age of 40.
Every year, about four out of every 100 people with AVM experience hemorrhage and each hemorrhage poses a 15 to 20 per cent risk of death or stroke, 30-percent neurological morbidity, and 10 per cent mortality.