Madurai: A multi-disciplinary team of doctors at Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH) gave a new lease of life to an 11-year-old girl who was completely paralyzed and known to have severe breathing problems due to a very rare autoimmune condition in children. I was in pain. as mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD).
A few months ago, an 11-year-old girl from Karuppyurani was admitted to the pediatric ward of GRH after she complained of back pain and joint pain in both the knees. She was then treated for rheumatoid arthritis.
However, in August, she was again taken to GRH in a completely stable state and with acute respiratory distress, said Dr. S Balashankar said. He said, “The girl, who could not move a finger, was completely paralyzed and required emergency care. The girl’s respiratory health improved after a tracheostomy and prolonged ventilator support in the Intensive Respiratory Care Unit (IRCU). improved.”
“Meanwhile, she was diagnosed with the auto-immune condition MCTD. The condition usually occurs only in women aged 20-30 years. The incidence in children is rare,” said the senior pediatrician.
To treat the auto-immune disease, the girl was given two doses of the expensive drug intravenous immunoglobulin, but it did not yield any results.
“Alternatively, the patient underwent six cycles of plasmapheresis to replace the antibodies, after which his condition improved,” Dr Balashankar said. After 23 days of intensive care, the girl slowly started walking and will be discharged soon. However, the girl requires regular follow-up consultations, steroids and immune-modulators as MCTD is not curable, Pediatrician said.
Stating that the incidence of MCTD among children is ‘rare to rare’ and there is no documented medical literature available on it, Dr Nandini Kuppusamy, Professor of Pediatrics, said, “The girl’s case has been documented through publication in medical journals. Efforts are on to do it. The girl who lost her father during her stay in the hospital needs financial help for lifelong treatment.”
Dr A Rathinvel, the dean of the hospital, said the 11-year-old was given free treatment at GRH, and the same treatment in private hospitals would cost Rs 20-25 lakh. For saving the child’s life, Rathinvel lauded the multidisciplinary team of doctors including Dr Balashankar, Dr Nandini Kuppusamy, Associate Professor of Pediatrics Dr E Sivakumar, Neurologist Dr Manivannan, Head (In-Charge) of Nephrology Department, Dr Arul. Rheumatologist Dr. Arul Raja Murugan, Dr M Sintha, Head of the Department of Transfusion Medicine at GRH, Anesthetist Dr Selvakumar, Dr Pratibhaba and Dermatologist Dr Geeta Rani.