Doctors are crediting banked umbilical cord blood with saving a baby who suffered a rare stroke in utero, Fox News
Only hours after Rebecca Coates had given birth to her daughter Bailey she noticed the baby was suffering from what appeared to be hiccup-like movements.
"She was moving really strangely, even under the swaddle, so I called the nurse just to make sure she was breathing okay," Coates told FoxNews.com.
Although Bailey was deemed healthy by the hospital staff, the strange movements continued, so the Coates took her for a pediatric neurology consultation.
"They scheduled her for an MRI, and that's when we found out she had had a stroke," Coates said.
Doctors believe Bailey suffered a stroke before birth after a piece of placenta detached and traveled through her umbilical cord into her brain. Those strange movements she was experiencing were actually seizures. The stroke also hindered her ability to move her right arm and part of her right leg. One doctor predicted she would never walk or talk without intensive therapy.
But when Bailey was born, Coates and her husband Bob banked their daughter's cord blood through Stemcyte, a private cord blood bank. Cord blood contains hematopoietic progenitor cells, a type of stem cell now used to treat leukemia and lymphoma that may hold promise for treating Alzheimer's disease.
Because Alzheimer's runs in the Coates family, the couple decided the banked blood may be useful someday.
"To be honest, it's cheaper than my television, so of course I’m going to invest that way in my child's future," Coates told FoxNews.com. "I never in a million years thought we were actually going to use it."
The couple enrolled Bailey in a clinical trial run by Joanne Kurtzberg, M.D., director of the pediatric blood and marrow transplant program at Duke University, which for 25 years has done pioneered work using umbilical cord blood as a way to treat diseases and injuries affecting the brain.
"When we first heard about her history, which was that she had seizures as a neonate and showed a scan that showed stroke, we felt she was clinically a good candidate. And on top of that, they had banked her cord blood with a private bank," Kurtzberg told FoxNews.com.
Bailey began receiving infusions of her own cord blood at Duke, which Kurtzberg said can help decrease inflammation around the area of the brain affected by stroke and promote repair and new blood flow.
Now 14-months-old, Bailey appears to be responding well to treatments. She now has use of both sides of her body, and she is learning to walk and talk as well – hitting all the milestones expected of normal, healthy children her age.
"She is completely age appropriate. The only thing I've noticed is she has some hand preference, but that could be just because she's going to be left-handed…," Coates said.
"Two-handed activities she does with no problem; she can hold a cup; she can point with her finger. Typically a child with cerebral palsy, which she was at risk for, would have a fisted hand and wouldn’t be able to open and close or grasp objects and point."