Three years ago, Brianna Thompson, then 9 years old, suffered a widespread rash and bloodshot eyes after she took 11/2 teaspoons of
To treat these ailments, she was given
After several hospital visits, Brianna, who lives with her family in Stickney, was taken to
TEN is a potentially fatal
"It is a multisystem disease," said Dr. Charles Bouchard, chair of the department of
"TEN is a more severe form of Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS), diagnosed by the extent of the total body surface area affected," Bouchard said. More than 30 percent of the skin is affected in patients with TEN, he said.
Stevens-Johnson syndrome can cause
The transplantation treatment described in Bouchard's paper works by lining the surface of the eye with the membrane. It can be sewn to the inner lining of the eyelids, the surface of the eyeballs and the inside part of the eyelids, Bouchard said. Plastic rings can hold the amniotic membrane in place.
"It is like a biological dressing. It drapes over the cornea," he said. Eventually, it melts, Bouchard said.
"The goal (of the paper) was to investigate the role of the amniotic membrane in the management of SJS," Bouchard said. "The amniotic membrane reduced the rate of severe vision loss."
The researchers compared patients with SJS or the more severe TEN who had been admitted to the burn intensive care unit at Loyola from January 1998 to May 2011. Leaving out patients who died, and including those who had more than a month of follow-up, there were 13 who received amniotic membrane transplantation early on the disease and 17 who received medical care without transplantation.
Thirty-five percent of the eyes that received standard treatment without transplantation were legally blind, and 4.3 percent of the eyes that received the amniotic membrane were legally blind, according to the study.
Dr. Ali Djalilian, associate professor of ophthalmology and visual science at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System, said the study is valuable.
"It's definitely something because, in that setting, using the amniotic membrane as a temporary replacement for the surface of the eye, to use it for healing, is a big step for patients. For a patient within the first week of the disease, it is definitely beneficial. (Later on) it doesn't change the course of the disease very much," Djalilian said.
TEN occurs in about 1 to 1.4 cases per million people each year, with a 30 percent to 35 percent mortality rate, according to Dermatology Online Journal. There are 1 to 3 cases per million people of Stevens-Johnson syndrome, which has a mortality rate of 5 percent, according to the journal.