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Health Information In My Own Words: Epilepsy Patient Now Has Her Life Back

A neurologist gives hope to a teen patient — and is inspired by her determination.

Every day clinicians and patients at Rush University Medical Center face moments of great challenge and great inspiration. Neurologist-epileptologist Marvin Rossi, MD, PhD, is no exception. He recently wrote a post on the Rush InPerson blog in which he shared the story of Tiffany, a teenager whose epilepsy was deemed untreatable by every doctor she saw — until she came to the Rush Epilepsy Center. There, Rossi and his colleagues were able to provide an accurate diagnosis and create a treatment plan for Tiffany that included implanting an investigational brain stimulator.

The following is an excerpt from Rossi's blog post:

When clinicians in the past told my patient, Tiffany, that there was nothing more they could do for her, she and her family didn’t give up hope. Tiffany has been battling health issues since infancy. At 13 months she developed a brain tumor. She had brain surgery and radiation by age 5. Although the tumor was gone, the scarring from the surgery impaired her right-sided brain function, which started causing problems for her as a teenager. She started suffering through complex partial seizures — staring spells — and severe persistent vomiting. Anti-epileptic medications did not help her seizures and she had zero quality of life.

She came to Rush after doctors from large, well-established medical centers across the country told her there was nothing more they could do for her. But here at the Rush Epilepsy Center, we utilized cutting-edge diagnostic technologies and got to the root of her problem.

We devised a unique plan for the best way to help her. We diagnosed her with medication-resistant focal-onset epilepsy, localized her epileptic circuit and decided she was a good candidate for an investigational brain stimulator to help control her seizures. After an extensive and unique presurgical evaluation, we implanted the stimulator electrodes into the areas of her brain where the seizures started. The skull-based device detects the seizure onset and then attempts to terminate it by stimulating the abnormal brain regions. This device is similar to an implantable cardiac defibrillator that stimulates the heart to end a life-threatening arrhythmia

Read the rest of Marvin Rossi's post to learn more about Tiffany's treatment. And view this follow-up post by Tiffany to find out how she’s doing today.

More Information at Your Fingertips …

Please note: All physicians featured in Discover Rush Online are on the medical faculty of Rush University Medical Center. Some of the physicians featured are in private practice and, as independent practitioners, are not agents or employees of Rush University Medical Center.

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December 2012-January 2013 


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