Team Effort Restores an Active Life for Young Boy with Brain Lesion

Mayra Quispe was readying 8-year-old Jayden and his little brother for a walk on March 30, 2020, when she noticed his hands were clenching and unclenching. He began to drool and wheeze, and then fell to the floor. Jayden had never shown signs of a seizure before, and Mayra and her husband were scared. Though worried about the safety of hospitals, they knew they had to call 911 for help.

Jayden was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center. Mayra was concerned, as Elmhurst was hard hit by the pandemic at that time. But the hospital clearly was making safety a priority, so she was reassured. A CT scan revealed a lesion in Jayden’s brain, and it was clear he needed specialty care. Jayden was immediately transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at The Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital, where Peter F. Morgenstern, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, and Pediatrics, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, ordered further testing, beginning with a test for COVID-19, which came back negative.

Dr. Morgenstern partnered with Johanna T. Fifi, MD, Associate Director of the Cerebrovascular Center at Mount Sinai, to conduct a magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI) and an angiogram, which showed that Jayden’s seizure was caused by an arteriovenous malformation (AVM). An AVM is a tangle of abnormal blood vessels prone to rupture, causing bleeding in the brain or spine. Most people who have an AVM are born with it. Jayden’s AVM had bled and caused his seizure. Dr. Morgenstern postponed the surgery to give Jayden’s brain time to recuperate from the rupture. Jayden was discharged three days later. Mayra said that during her son’s stay, the precautions Mount Sinai took to limit the spread of COVID-19 made her and her husband feel so safe that the pandemic was barely on their minds, and they were able to focus on their son’s care without worry.

In early June, Jayden returned to The Mount Sinai Hospital. Dr. Fifi performed a partial embolization, a minimally invasive procedure to reduce blood flow to the AVM. This would make it safer to remove the AVM. Two days later, Dr. Morgenstern and Saadi Ghatan, MD, Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Mount Sinai, removed the AVM. “Taking care of Jayden was really a team effort,” Dr. Morgenstern says.

The surgeries were a success, and in a few days, Jayden was discharged. Less than two months later, he was back to being a normal youngster, Mayra says. “It was just like Dr. Morgenstern said—he’s reading, writing, and running just like he used to.” Mayra is grateful to Mount Sinai. “Mount Sinai was the right place, with the right doctors and the right outcome.”