“Harmless” cold leads to cardiac arrest: sophie (2) from france narrowly escapes death

"It all started with a seemingly harmless cough, which almost everyone had in february", remembers kathrin R.. But then their little daughter sophie's cough turned into a heart alarm. The life of the toddler, who had never been ill before, was suddenly hanging by a thread. Doctors from erlangen saved the girl's life with a seemingly harmless cold, as the university of erlangen-nurnberg reported on wednesday.

When kathrin R. Looking back over the past few months, she is still amazed: her daughter sophie, who is now two years old and has never really been sick, has just escaped death once again this spring. "But then it all happened very quickly. At the beginning of march sophie was admitted to hospital as an emergency case. Three days later, an artificial heart had to keep her alive", the mother is quoted in the press release.

Acute myocarditis caused by a cold pathogen

But what had actually happened? Since november of last year, the now two-year-old went to a daycare center. "So of course she brought a cough home with her", remembers the mother. "Unfortunately, neither home remedies nor antibiotics helped. One day, I received a call from the nursery staff to come and pick up my daughter: her lips were blue, she smelled, and she stopped drinking." the family from a village in central franconia immediately set off for the hospital in furth. Infusions, ultrasound examinations and rontgenograms of the lungs – the examination marathon began.

A small part of the large team that cared for sophie in the children's hospital of the uni-klinikum erlangen. Among them the pediatric heart surgeon dr. Ariawan purbojo (2. V. L.) and dr. Robert blumauer (3. V. L.), the senior cardiotechnician frank munch (3. V. R.) and numerous nurses from the pediatric cardiology ward 4A and the intensive care unit of the pediatric hospital. Photo: franziska mannel/uni hospital erlangen franziska mannel/uni hospital E (franziska mannel/uni hospital E) sophie's heart muscle was inflamed. Or as the doctors would say: she had an acute myocarditis. The cause was an adenovirus. So "a pathogen that can be found in virtually every sniff nose", like prof. Dr. Sven dittrich, head of pediatric cardiology at the uni-klinikum erlangen, explains. "That a common cold escalates and attacks a young heart like this is unfortunately a regular occurrence. However, the fact that sophie's heart has recovered so quickly and to such a large extent is the gross exception.", dittrich continues. The last time the doctor had such a case was in 2009.

Life-threatening situation for little sophie

A sentence will kathrin R. Never forget: "there is something in the pictures that I don't like", according to the attending senior physician. The girl's heart had grown a third of its size – the heart muscle was barely working. Without hesitation, the doctors from furth contacted their colleagues at the pediatric heart clinic in erlangen. On her way to the university hospital, kathrin R. In shock.

"Sophie had always been in perfect health – and now this", the little girl's mother remembers.

Sophie is 21 months old at this time. The girl is immediately admitted to the intensive care unit and is treated with medication. But the toddler's condition was getting worse and worse. At 3 in the morning.2 p.M. It is clear: the girl must be put on an extracorporeal life support system (ECLS) as soon as possible, a machine that takes over the function of the heart, supplying the body with oxygen and thus keeping it alive. This is reported by the press office of the university of erlangen-nurnberg.

Sophie's heart stands still

Within minutes, the entire team – two pediatric cardiac surgeons, an anesthesiologist, two surgical nurses and a cardiotechnician – is on the scene. But sophie's heart has already stopped. "We started immediately with the manual cardiac massage", explains dr. Robert blumauer, pediatric heart surgeon on duty at the time. "The intervention was dramatic because we had to resuscitate the child all the time: even when we had already opened the thorax and were operating on the open heart. Under these circumstances, for example, it is more difficult to place the two necessary cannulae. One must go into the aorta, the other into the right atrium."

Sophie's condition improves after surgery. The dose of medication can be reduced, the girl's circulation is stable. But the pumping power of the small heart is too weak. Even three days later, sophie's heart can't take care of her little body on its own. Specialists then recommend inserting an artificial heart. "A so-called berlin heart should support sophie's heart in the long term", explains dr. Ariawan purbojo, senior physician in pediatric heart surgery.

Sophie recovers quickly, thank goodness

Fortunately, sophie's heart regained its strength relatively quickly and the doctors were able to gradually reduce the output of the artificial heart. After three months, they finally removed the device completely. Another week later sophie was allowed to go home with her parents. "It's rare for a story like this to end well.", explains cesnjevar.

Only four months have passed since the girl was admitted to the university hospital in erlangen in march and discharged at the end of june. Sophie celebrated her second birthday in this period. With artificial heart and birthday cake.

Little milah from upper franconia has an extremely rare disease. When she is happy, she gets sick. Now, thanks to generous donations, her wish has come true.