The first steps of one of Britain's youngest stroke patients were celebrated by her proud mother as "even more special".
"Happy and Healthy" Bethany Comben was just 13 months old when she had a sudden stroke in August of last year and was taken to hospital after she had stopped responding.
About two weeks later, she had a second stroke, and after having had two brain bleeds within 16 days, the brave toddler underwent complex brain surgery followed by months of physiotherapy, the mirror reports.
Since that frightening experience, Bethany has made such fantastic progress that she can now stroll through the family's lounge at her home in Maidstone, Kent.
Proud mother Alice greeted her daughter's first steps for more than a year since her double strokes and said, "It may be a bit late, but it's even more special."
What caused the strokes is not yet clear, but tests after her first showed a small hole in her heart.
Alice, 32, said: "Doctors think she may have had a heart infection that caused the hole and the stroke.
"They have not found bacteria in their hearts, so they do not know exactly, but that's the theory."
Earlier this year, the mother took part in the Stroke Association Resolution Run to raise awareness of stroke in childhood.
She told the charity in January, "When I think back to what happened, I get a shiver on my back, I could not believe we were told that our happy and healthy 13-month-old daughter had a stroke."
After Bethany had a second stroke, doctors told Alice and her husband Phil that "if they did not operate, we could expect worse news, but when they did surgery, we were told that Bethany could be paralyzed on the left side of her body and that she would probably need a lot of ongoing support. "
Alice added, "Fortunately, Bethany was not completely paralyzed, but she has a significant weakness on her left side.
"When we got home from the hospital, we realized how weak Bethany was, she could not even sit up.
"It was so hard to observe, we were completely heartbroken and wished we could do more to help her."
However, Bethany & # 39; s proud parents said that about four months later, her determined toddler "sat all alone" and wanted to move in her own way.
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Seeing her progress despite her traumatic exam made her "relieved and found she had a lot of fighting and determination in her.
"After all that Bethany went through, we just wanted to see her happy again, she's always smiling and it's so much fun to be here, we love her to pieces!"
There are over 400 childhood strokes annually in the UK affecting babies, children and adolescents.
A stroke happens when the blood supply to one part of the brain is interrupted. There are two main types of stroke:
- Ischemic, caused by a blockage of the blood supply to the brain
- Hemorrhagic, which occurs when blood leaks from a ruptured blood vessel into the brain
Both types of strokes are equally common in children.
Stroke in infants (during pregnancy up to 28 days after birth) can be caused by plaquette clots leaking into the child's brain or by a blood clotting disorder in the mother or baby.
Strokes in children between the ages of 29 and 18 are often associated with existing conditions, usually congenital heart disease and sickle cell anemia.
Other risk factors include infectious diseases, head or neck injuries, vascular problems and blood disorders.
Signs of a stroke in a child:
- In infants up to 28 years, seizures are a common symptom of stroke
- Babies and children may experience sudden weakness or paralysis on one side of their body, facial drooping, speech problems, and headaches (associated with ischemic strokes)
- Vomiting, seizures and occasional headache can be signs of hemorrhagic stroke
Source: Stroke Association
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