The Palmer family spent the worst week of their lives at Cincinnati Children’s—and now they couldn’t be happier. In January 2022, Paisley Palmer was 18 months old. She was recovering from a bone marrow transplant to treat acute myeloid leukemia (AML) when a complication from chemotherapy left her struggling to breathe.
Paisley developed veno occlusive disease (VOD). The condition blocks blood vessels in the liver, causing swelling and fluid retention. This put pressure on the lungs, making it tough to breathe.
“We almost lost her twice in one day,” says mom Jessica Palmer. “But the intensive care unit team worked miracles, and the nephrology team knew how to gently pull the fluid off her body and move her toward recovery.”
Lifesaving Specialized Technology
Jessica says the experience was one of many signs from the universe that she and husband Tim made the right choice in coming to Cincinnati from Cleveland for Paisley’s care.
The Cincinnati Children’s Nephrology team treated Paisley’s VOD with dialysis and a special filter designed for small children. The HF20 filter provides continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT) for children who weigh between 8 and 20 kg. It is made for patients with low blood volume from a critical illness.
The HF20 filter works with a small child’s existing blood volume. Before this technology was available, dialysis filters not made for this patient size were required, says Stuart Goldstein, MD, director of the Center for Acute Care Nephrology.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization to manufacturer Baxter International Inc. during the COVID-19 pandemic to make the HF20 filter available to children getting intensive care for kidney injury or failure.
Cincinnati Children’s became the first center to use the filter in the United States as part of a study in 2016, Goldstein says.
The Palmers’ Journey to Cincinnati Children’s
Paisley was diagnosed with AML on July 21, 2021. Jessica had noticed a small bruise on her right temple. When it didn’t go away, she asked her pediatrician about it. They saw a dermatologist, who thought it was a hematoma. An ultrasound and biopsy confirmed AML.
“Paisley never appeared sick. We caught it before it took over her bone marrow,” Jessica says.