Gastroenterology

All Articles in the Category ‘Gastroenterology’

Boy Imprisoned by Intestinal Disease Finds Life-Changing Treatment

Brennan Henderson was born 3 months premature with a host of debilitating health issues, including necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a condition that affects the intestines.

It’s common for parents of young children to worry about the unexpected accident that may occur while they’re out in public.  But for the Henderson family, being prepared for the unexpected was something that lasted well beyond the early years of childhood.

Whether it was attending a family gathering or simply dropping by the grocery store, there was always a looming concern around when their youngest son, Brennan, may have his next vomiting or bowel incontinence episode.

“There were times when we would go to a restaurant and have to cover him with a blanket,” said Brennan’s mother, Gloria Henderson. “We did it to muffle the sound of him vomiting into a bag. It felt awful having to do it, but it was the only option we had.”

Brennan was born 3 months premature with a host of debilitating health conditions, including necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).

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Born Into Drug Addiction, Boy Overcomes Hepatitis C and Finds a Forever Home

Talon, 11, contracted hepatitis C from his birth mother’s drug addiction. After enrolling into a clinical drug trial offered at Seattle Children’s, Talon is now free of both the virus and social stigma.

Behind his dimpled smile and comical laugh, Talon Hendrickson-Zimmerman has the kind of carefree spirit that could be hard for anyone to forget.

However, life wasn’t always as easy for the 11-year-old. Talon began his life as one of the forgotten children affected by the “opioid epidemic”, leaving him without a mother or home to call his own.

When he was born, Talon suffered the consequences from his birth mother’s drug addiction, which included the contraction of hepatitis C, a contagious virus affecting 23,000 to 46,000 children in the United States that can cause fatal liver damage if untreated.

“Hepatitis C is a virus that causes inflammation of the liver,” said Dr. Karen Murray, division chief of pediatric gastroenterology and hepatology at Seattle Children’s, who has treated Talon since he was 2 years old. “It can be acquired when the blood or other bodily fluids of an infected person enter the bloodstream of a non-infected person. In children, the most common way that hepatitis C is acquired is when a mother passes the virus to the baby during delivery.”

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It’s a Messy Topic, but Let’s Talk About Poop

There are a lot of ways to describe it: soft, hard, brown, green, runny and stinky. It’s a messy topic often discussed behind closed doors, but today, we’re breaking down what you need to know about poop – from its color, consistency and frequency, to what to do when a child is backed up.

According to Dr. Mollie Grow, a pediatrician at Seattle Children’s and the University of Washington, it can be challenging for some families to be open about the body’s natural process of elimination. In other words, it can be hard to talk about poop. There’s often embarrassment talking about the subject when there shouldn’t be.

“As pediatricians, we get really comfortable talking about poop,” said Grow. “We try to normalize the conversation with patients and families.” Read full post »

Diagnosing Celiac Disease: Is It a Stomach Ache or Something More?

Today, Kyla Greenstein is an active 13-year-old girl who loves to skiing, among other sports.

From the time Kyla Greenstein was born, something wasn’t quite right with her digestion system. Kyla suffered from chronic diarrhea and bloating, and although she seemed to be an otherwise healthy child, it was concerning for her parents. It wasn’t until a well child check at the age of 5 when the family learned about an unexpected theory for their daughter’s tummy woes.

“On a day-to-day basis she was a happy child,” said Cindy Greenstein, Kyla’s mother. “But occasionally she would bloat and her stomach would be painful to the touch. We knew something was going on, just not what exactly.”

Her doctor recommended she be checked for celiac disease, and so the family was referred to Seattle Children’s where the diagnosis was confirmed.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder. When someone with celiac disease eats gluten, a protein found in wheat and rye, it causes an immune system reaction and stimulates the body to attack the small intestine.

“Celiac is really common, occurring in about 1 in 100 people,” said Dr. Dale Lee, a gastroenterologist at Seattle Children’s and director of Seattle Children’s Celiac Disease Program. “It’s tricky because the presentation of celiac can be different for everyone. The symptoms of celiac can be quite variable, and so many people go undiagnosed.” Read full post »

Ciara Helps Pamper Patients at Seattle Children’s

Lynch posed for a photo with Ciara after getting a makeover. Photo credit: Corky Trewin

Today, patients at Seattle Children’s were pampered thanks to Ciara, who along with her glam squad, surprised children at the hospital with complimentary makeovers.

“Every time I visit Seattle Children’s, I see how strong these children are who are going through such difficult battles,” said Ciara. “I wanted to help make them feel as strong and beautiful as they are to me, and to let them know I’m thinking about them. I often hear that I inspire these kids, but they’re really the ones that inspire me. They are the real superheroes of today.”

Ciara, who often visits Seattle Children’s with her husband, Seahawk’s quarterback Russell Wilson, wanted to organize an event to help make kids at the hospital feel beautiful – both inside and out. And so, for the day, Seattle Children’s was transformed into a beauty salon for “Ciara’s Makeover Monday by Revlon.” Read full post »

Novel Diet Therapy Helps Children With Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis Reach Remission

dr-suskind

Lead researcher, Dr. David Suskind, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Seattle Children’s.

Can diet alone be used to treat Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis (UC)? It’s a question Dr. David Suskind, a gastroenterologist at Seattle Children’s, has been researching for years.

Today, he finally has the answer: yes.

In a first-of-its-kind-study led by Suskind, published today in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, diet alone was shown to bring pediatric patients with active Crohn’s and UC into clinical remission.

“This changes the paradigm for how we may choose to treat children with inflammatory bowel disease,” said Suskind. Read full post »

Amazon Makes Special Deliveries to Seattle Children’s

Gio Caro, 6, helped bring holiday cheer to patients at Seattle Children’s.

The holidays arrived early this year for families at Seattle Children’s and Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic (OBCC). Amazon brightened the day for patients and families by making one of their largest – and most special – deliveries of the year.

“We so appreciate the important work Seattle Children’s and Odessa Brown does for families in our Seattle community,” said Sam Kennedy, an Amazon spokesperson. “We are proud to give back to such amazing organizations and to put a smile on people’s faces during this special time of year.”

The hospital was filled with excitement as patients and families gathered around a giant Amazon gift box in the inpatient playroom at the hospital. Giomoni (Gio) Caro, 6, a long-time patient at Seattle Children’s, was given the honor of unveiling what was inside the box – a brand new Kindle For Kids Bundle with the latest E-reader for every child in the hospital and a $50 gift card for families in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) – and was designated as an “Elf for a Day” to help spread holiday cheer throughout the hospital. Read full post »

Let’s Talk About What Most People Avoid: Poop

Poop Emoji Pose

Dr. Ambartsumyan poses with items from her wall of memorabilia.

Everyone poops. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about it.

Dr. Lusine Ambartsumyan, director of Seattle Children’s Gastrointestinal Motility program, is on a mission to open up a dialogue about poop.

According to Ambartsumyan, people tend to shy away from conversations related to bowel movements. She says many people feel uncomfortable or shameful talking about it, but these are vital conversations for parents and children to have together.

Millions of children around the world have problems with constipation and fecal incontinence, or the ability to control bowel movements. However, these issues can be difficult to diagnose if children and parents aren’t willing to speak up.

“There’s a stigma, and sometimes parents don’t know their child is suffering from constipation or incontinence because they feel ashamed to talk about it,” said Ambartsumyan. “We have to desensitize and demystify shame around poop. I talk about poop all day long, every single day, and I love talking about it. I want people to feel comfortable talking about it too because it’s critical for their health.” Read full post »

New Year, Fresh Start For a Little Girl With a Song of Her Own

Gabby and KimMilestones deserve a celebration. At least that’s what Seattle Children’s Pediatric Advanced Care Team thought when 9-year-old Gabby Krueger, a longtime patient at Seattle Children’s, received some good news the week before Christmas. After 14 weeks in the hospital, doctors gave the family the green light to go home.

“We’ve been here a really long time,” said Kim Sistek, Gabby’s mother. “We were really excited to go home.”

The news came after Gabby showed improvement in motility. For three years, Gabby has needed assistance going to the bathroom. She’s needed to use enemas to pass stool on her own. Her parents were beginning to have conversations with doctors about what Gabby’s life would look like if she lost motility. Her outcome was looking bleak. But just a couple weeks ago, Gabby made an improvement. Read full post »

Alternative to Steroids and Medication, Novel Diet Helps Teen Overcome Crohn’s

Avi Beach

Avi Shapiro, 15, on a beach in New York, weeks after starting novel diet.

When Avi Shapiro, 15, began complaining of an ache in his stomach, the last thing his mother thought could be the cause was a chronic disease. But after several trips to the doctor, that’s exactly the diagnosis they received.

“I thought the tummy ache would go away, or that maybe he was lactose intolerant,” said Ingrid Elliott, Avi’s mother. “My next thought was, ‘If it’s anything, I hope it’s celiac disease.’ I know how to deal with that. I am gluten intolerant so I know it’s something we could treat with diet.”

After multiple visits to see their pediatrician and a trip to Seattle Children’s for an endoscopy and a colonoscopy, the results were confirmed. Shapiro’s intestines were severely inflamed. He was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a form of Inflammatory Bowl Disease (IBD). Read full post »