Complex Vascular Program: Ava's Story

Pediatric Neurosurgery

Complex Vascular Program: Ava's Story

Ava and her parentsAva transferred to American Family Children’s Hospital at 3 days old with a severe, rare brain blood vessel malformation that created a flood of fast blood flow to the brain (Choroidal Vein of Galen malformation). Untreated, she would have brain damage, heart failure and would die.

Ava has had seven brain blood vessel (neuroendo-vascular) surgeries performed by Dr. Beverly Aagaard Kienitz. At only 6 days old, Ava needed her first surgery because her heart was starting to fail. Her final surgery, performed by Drs. Aagard Kienitz and Bermans Iskandar, took place in our pediatric catheterization/angiography suite. As the first children’s hospital in the United States to have a Artis Q. zen biplane installed in a hybrid operating room, American Family Children’s Hospital is especially proud that this new, low-dose hybrid technology minimizes radiation exposure to children.

During surgery, Dr. Iskandar opened her skull to expose a deep vein. Then, Dr. Aagaard Kienitz entered the vein to close the last abnormal blood vessel connections.Throughout, Ava needed a large team of doctors and nurses from many specialties to treat her: pediatric cardiology, neonatal ICU, pediatric ICU, pediatric neuroradiology, pediatric neurosurgery, pediatric anesthesiology and neuroendovascular surgery.

A traditional surgery, paired with more contemporary angiographic surgery and an exquisitely coordinated team of specialists, led to precision closure of Ava’s abnormal vessels.

Throughout it all, Ava grew and thrived. Today at 2 years old, Ava is a cheerful, playful whirlwind of activity who delights her parents, Amanda and Ajay, and all who meet her. This is only possible because of the beautifully orchestrated care provided by our dedicated multidisciplinary American Family Children’s Hospital Neurosciences team.