Poppy Seed Oil Saves Lilly!


PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (Invahoe Newswire) — What happens when a baby’s lymphatic system, the system that circulates critical fluids through the body, doesn’t function as it should? For some, the buildup of fluid can be deadly. Tonight we meet Lilly, initially diagnosed with a rare condition during mom’s pregnancy, and the out-of-the box treatment that saved Lilly’s life.

Lilly is a happy, active toddler.

You’d never suspect that while mom was pregnant, her 20-week fetal ultrasound revealed lymphatic fluid, pooling in Lilly’s chest.

Yoav Dori, MD, PhD, Director of Pediatric Lymphatic Imaging and Interventions and Lymphatic Research, Cardiac Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia explained, “We know that kids who have that finding in utero, after birth, are going to have a certain kind of lymphatic abnormality.” (Read Full Interview)

In Lilly’s case, she had a condition called neonatal chylothorax, causing fluid buildup. Doctors put a shunt in, problem over. But a few days after her birth, Lilly underwent a diagnostic test …

“That MRI that day changed our entire lives,” said Cortney Johnson, Lilly’s Mother.

Part of her lymphatic system was flowing in the wrong direction— from the thoracic duct towards the lungs, a rare condition. This caused leaks, which led to fluid buildup.

Johnson continued, “She needed an emergency chest tube and they were considering possibly intubating her to give her lungs a break, because they were on the verge of collapsing.”

Instead, Dr. Dori decided on a novel method to stop the lung leaks; injecting poppy seed oil through the groin and into the lungs.

Doctor Dori explained, “Because these leaks are small, the poppy seed oil, we think, preferentially goes to where the leaks are, and then causes inflammation and ultimately causes sclerosing, so the channels shut down. And that stops the leak. After a few days, we continued to manage her conservatively and she’s doing amazingly well.”

“I thank him every day for my little girl,” said Johnson.

This is a rare condition and doctors are uncertain as to the cause. Although Cortney and her husband underwent extensive genetic testing, nothing raised red flags. Doctors still don’t know what caused Lilly’s medical problems. For more information, visit CHOP’s website at chop.edu.

Contributors to this news report include: Donna Parker, Field Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Gabriella Battistiol, Assistant Producer; David Harrison, Editor.

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REPORT:       MB #4377

LYMPHATIC SYSTEM: The lymphatic system is a network of organs and tissues that help rid the body of waste and toxins along with any other unwanted materials. The primary function of the lymphatic system is to transport lymph, which is a fluid that contains infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout the body. The lymphatic system primarily consists of lymphatic vessels, t similar to the circulatory system’s capillaries and veins. These vessels are connected to the lymph nodes, where the lymph fluid is filtered. The adenoids, spleen, tonsils, and thymus are all part of this intricate system.

(Source: https://www.livescience.com/26983-lymphatic-system.html)

CHYLOTHORAX AND INFANTS: Chylothorax is the accumulation of lymph fluid around the lungs. This excess fluid around the lungs makes it difficult for a baby to breathe. In some cases it only affects one lung, but in others, it can affect both. The exact cause of chylothorax in newborns is, oftentimes, unknown. It can also be a result of trauma from surgery. It is sometimes discovered during pregnancy during a routine ultrasound; in other cases it is not diagnosed until after the baby is born and he or she begins to show signs of difficulty breathing. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, rapid breathing, or even difficulty feeding. Treatment goals are to drain the fluid and prevent it from building up again. Determining the cause of the buildup for accurate treatment is critical.

(Source: http://fetaltonewborn.org/chylothorax/)

POPPY SEED OIL: Poppy seed oil is an edible oil that is derived from poppy seeds. These seeds contain 45 to 50 percent of oil, which is rich in Vitamin E, codeine and morphine. It is used for both pharmaceutical and culinary reasons, as well as paints, soaps, and varnishes. In industrialized countries it can also be used for culinary purposes as dipping oil or in salads. It possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help to promote immunity and has a high concentration of minerals, vitamins, dietary fibers, and also electrolytes that assist the human body and circulatory system.

(Source: https://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/poppyseed-oil/)

LILLY’S TREATMENT: Lilly was injected with poppy seed oil. Just poppy seed oil by itself, which is actually a contrast agent, is known to work well for immobilization in babies. So massaging that oil into the lungs ultimately makes these fluid leaks go away and that is exactly what happened to Lilly. After a few weeks, sometimes less time than that, the fusion is resolved. Doctors now just continue to manage Lilly conservatively and she is doing amazingly well.

(Source: Yoav Dori, MD, PhD)


Joey Ryan


CHOP Cardiac Referral


If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com

Doctor Q and A

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