Reality star Meghan King Edmonds says her son is making progress after being diagnosed with permanent brain damage.
Edmonds, 34, formerly of The Real Housewives of Orange County, shared a photo on Instagram of herself and one-year-old Hart.
The two are in a hyperbaric compressed oxygen chamber that is meant to help loosen tight muscles and stimulate brain cells and neurons.
She said her son has gotten significantly better at crawling, taking steps with help and lifting his legs.
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Former Real Housewives star Meghan King Edmonds shared a photo of herself and her one-year-old son Hart in a hyperbaric compressed oxygen chamber (pictured)
Hart suffers from Periventricular Leukomalacia, a type of brain damage that affects the brain’s white matter. Pictured: Edmonds with Hart, left, and his twin brother Hayes, right
Premature infants are the most likely to have the condition but Edmonds’ sons were not born prematurely. Pictured: Hart, left, and Hayes, right
In a blog post earlier this month, Edmonds said she and her husband, former MLB player Jim Edmonds, knew something was wrong with Hart not long after he was born.
After noticing developmental differences between Hart and his twin brother, Hayes, she began seeking doctors’ opinions.
Her pediatrician assured her that he was ‘fine’, but Edmonds eventually booked an appointment with a neurologist.
‘I begged for a neurologist who specializes in Cerebral Palsy (I jumped through hoops to get this appointment, so many hoops) and she said he might be fine. I then begged for an MRI,’ Edmonds wrote.
Three days after the MRI, her son was diagnosed with Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL).
PVL is a type of brain damage that affects the brain’s white matter, the tissue through which messages pass within the central nervous system.
It typically occurs after a lack of oxygen and changes in blood flow to this area of the brain before 32 weeks’ gestation.
Premature infants are the most likely to have the condition.
One 1996 study found that as many as 16 percent of NICU preemie babies were diagnosed with PVL.
However, Edmonds’ sons were not born prematurely, so her doctors believe it occurred while she was six or seven months pregnant.
Common symptoms include vision problems, trouble with movement and developmental delays. Many are at risk of developing cerebral palsy.
There is currently no cure for PVL, but physical therapy and speech therapy can help.
The chamber meant to stimulate brain cells and neurons as well as loosen tight muscles. Pictured: Hart, right, and Hayes, left,
After a few dives, Edmonds says her son is getting better at lifting his legs, crawling and taking steps with help. Hart also attends physical therapy and visits a chiropractor. Pictured: Hart with his father Jim Edmonds, left, and right
In the Instagram post, shared on Friday, Edmonds can be seen kissing Hart as he smiles at the camera.
‘Four times a week, either Jimmy or I “dive” with Hart in a hyperbaric compressed oxygen chamber,’ she wrote.
‘After 5 dives we are already seeing progress: lifting his left leg on stairs when his right is restrained, bear crawling (perhaps trying to stand?), more willingly taking steps with assistance, and cruising from the couch to the coffee table.
‘Is it because of this alternative therapy, is it because he’s just getting older, is it because of PT, or is it because of his 3x/weekly chiropractor visits? Who knows, but it’s not hurting! Go Hart, go!’
Edmonds has posted other photos and videos in the past of Hart in physical therapy.
More than two weeks, she shared a video of Hart in a swing as a physical therapist rocks it back and forth.
‘Hart loves this swing at PT!’ she wrote. ‘It helps him build his abs and stabilize his core to ultimately give him better balance and strength.’
WHAT IS PVL?
Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL) is a type of brain damage.
A person with PVL has damaged and dead cells in the white matter at the topp of the brain, which controls impulses and muscle control.
Most people with PVL (60-100 percent) go on to develop cerebral palsy. PVL is one of the four main causes of cerebral palsy.
WHAT CAUSES PVL?
It is usually caused by a lack of oxygen to those areas before birth, most often between 26 and 34 weeks’ gestation.
It could be that the mother contracted an infection during pregnancy that caused a disruption, or that she has a pre-existing condition like low blood pressure.
Twins have a higher risk of one being born with PVL, particularly if they are premature or weigh very little at birth.
A lack of oxygen at birth also raises the risks of PVL.
PVL cannot be cured, but physical and speech therapy can help.