Expert stroke care saves 16-year-old Molly Ogden's life
Alison Ogden knew the signs of stroke: drooping face, weak arms and slurred speech. She just never expected to see them in her 16-year-old daughter, Molly.
In rural Douglas County, Kansas, Molly Ogden was getting ready for school when the unthinkable happened. She suffered a massive stroke.
Molly was rushed to a nearby hospital where a scan revealed a clot in her brain. The clot was later determined to be caused by a combination of an underlying clotting disorder and a tear in her carotid artery, mostly likely from an injury she received the night before at a powder-puff football game.
Molly’s pediatrician had her transferred to The University of Kansas Health System’s Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center. It's the first and only in the region to be recognized as an Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center by The Joint Commission.
Specialized stroke team takes action
Once Molly arrived, the stroke team acted quickly. Alison consented to have her daughter treated as an adult, so she could receive tPA, a protein administered intravenously that helps break down blood clots.
The IV tPA treatment was followed by an endovascular procedure using mechanical thrombectomy or clot removal, led by John Madarang, MD, a neurointerventional radiologist and one of fewer than 10 such specialists in Kansas. The stroke center claims 4 of them. Specialists like Dr. Madarang are on call and ready should stroke patients like Molly need advanced treatment.
"Stroke patients are seen by our stroke experts every step of the way," said Dr. Madarang. "That’s all we do, and we have the protocols and the expertise in place to move quickly. The faster you can act, the better the outcome."
Dr. Madarang navigated a stent retriever into the blocked middle cerebral artery supplying blood to Molly’s brain. After positioning the stent retriever in the clot for a few minutes, he retracted the device from the vessel, pulling out the clot and restoring blood flow.
Molly, however, was not out of danger. Her brain continued to swell. She was taken to surgery once again, this time for a decompressive craniectomy.
A neurosurgeon led this complex procedure, removing the front lobes of Molly's cranium to give her young brain room to expand. He transplanted the pieces of skull into Molly’s abdomen, to keep the bone viable until it could be replaced months later.
Molly was then placed in a medicine-induced coma for 6 days to help regulate the pressure and reduce the swelling of her brain.