"They jumped on Brandon immediately with several scans."
When Brandon and his family planned a fun holiday weekend to New York City, a trip to the Emergency Department was not a part of the itinerary. Brandon had nothing more than a head cold, or so he was told. But when he started losing sensation in his leg, their hotel doctor told them to call an ambulance and insist on being taken to NewYork-Presbyterian.
“They jumped on Brandon immediately with several scans” says his mom. In just a couple of hours, neurosurgeon Dr. Mark Souweidane and neuroradiolologist Dr. Patsalides discovered that a sinus infection had made its way into Brandon's brain, causing swelling and bleeding.
The initial prognosis was grim. Doctors had never seen such extensive clotting in the veins of the brain. Over the next five days, Brandon had four interventional neuroradiology procedures — two of which were brain surgeries. Dr. Souweidane worked to cut out the infection and Dr. Patsalides worked to restore the flow of blood in Brandon's brain.
Between the successful surgeries and Brandon's hard work at physical rehab, this determined young man was able to make it back home in time for Christmas.
The common cold is usually a self-limited condition. When infections include the sinuses, they rarely extend into layers of tissue that protect the brain. Empyema is a rare complication of sinusitis. It is a true medical emergency and requires a neurosurgical procedure to treat the infection. If not treated in a timely manner, the infection can result in strokes and seizures, sometimes with irreversible consequences. It is important to seek medical attention if features of a cold or sinusitis are unusual or prolonged.