6-year-old Keira Vidikan, a brain tumor patient, was saved by a rare diagnosis. What started off as a minor headache prior to a ballet class turned into a true nightmare two weeks later when the little girl was hospitalized nearly paralyzed and unable to speak.
Keira Vidikan was on her way to a ballet class in Dayton, Ohio when her headache started. Two weeks later she was in a coma at the Cleveland Clinic. First brain scans showed what the doctors suspected to be evidence of glioma, which is an aggressive form of brain cancer.
After six hours of detailed tests, an MRI showed that the mass was more of vascular nature and the patient was referred to the Cleveland Clinic for further evaluation that yielded a brand new diagnosis, cavernoma. This is a rare form of arteriovenous malformations or AVMs. It was definitely not cancer, but a cluster of extra blood vessels that formed on her brain stem and bled out.
At the moment, the girl is “back to running, dancing, jumping, and skipped her way out of the clinic today” her mother told ABCNews.com.
Her condition is common for over 300,000 Americans who suffer form AVMs. This condition first shows during embryonic or fetal development or soon after the baby is born and causes defects of the circulatory system. These defects can be found anywhere in the body but those that form in the brain or spinal cord are the most devastating.
Dr. Peter Rasmussen, the director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Cerebrovascular Center and Keira’s neurosurgeon, said that at the moment “no one really understands these cavernomas very well” and that his little patient “had an unusual subset that was progressively enlarging over time. She was four or five weeks into this, and hers was just growing and growing like an aggressive tumor.”