‘We could see the changes hour by hour’: Cardiac procedure saves child with SVC syndrome
When 3-year-old Zyllah’s face began swelling, her mother Maria Torres thought it might be due to allergies. However, the Galt toddler’s face would swell out of the blue in the middle of summer when outdoor pollen isn’t typically a problem.
When the puffiness and swelling worsened, narrowing her eyes and making it difficult to see, her pediatrician referred her to an ear, nose and throat specialist.
After a series of tests didn’t determine the cause of the swelling, she was referred to Frank Ing, chief of pediatric cardiology at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. Ing is a world-renowned pediatric interventional cardiologist.
“Dr. Ing took one look at Zyllah and said that she had superior vena cava (SVC) syndrome. Right off the bat he knew it and he knew what to do to treat it,” Torres said. “We were so relieved.”
An echocardiogram confirmed that Zyllah had SVC syndrome, a rare condition in which blood flow from the head and upper body cannot return to the heart via the superior vena cava vein. This results in severe head and upper body swelling.
Dr. Ing took one look at Zyllah and said that she had superior vena cava (SVC) syndrome. Right off the bat he knew it and he knew what to do to treat it. We were so relieved.”
Using cardiac catheterization, Ing reopened the SVC vein with a balloon and placed a stent in the vein in order to keep her SVC open. Within a few hours, they could see her swelling go down. This was done in the cardiac catheterization lab and she was able to go home from the hospital the next day.
“The swelling went down and she was no longer in discomfort. We could see the changes hour by hour,” Ing said. “The procedure was a success.”
Torres said Zyllah is now doing well.
“We are so grateful to Dr. Ing for taking good care of Zyllah. We were in great hands,” Torres said.