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Holly's story

A ten-year-old girl who suffered a stroke is the youngest person to receive life-saving surgery using a newly installed state-of-the-art imaging system in the Interventional Radiology suite at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.


Last month, doctors performed an emergency procedure to remove a blood clot from Holly Browning’s brain. In a procedure usually carried out on much older patients, surgeons inserted a tiny device into a vein in Holly’s leg, which travelled up to her brain to retrieve the clot.

This type of interventional surgery has many benefits, including a much faster recovery rate for patients, and reduced risk of infections. Holly was able to return home just six days after her operation, and has made a remarkable recovery.

Clinical Director of radiology, Dr Teik Choon See, said: “Currently there are only a very limited number of specialists nationally who can perform this type of surgery. With stroke being the leading cause of disability in the UK, we urgently need more staff to be able to deliver this critical minimally invasive treatment to more patients across the region.”

Before and after her operation, Holly was looked after by paediatric neurologist Dr Pooja Harijan.

Dr Harijan said: “Stroke in children as young as Holly is thankfully very unusual – we only see about 3-6 cases like Holly’s per year across the east of England. In this case we were able to diagnose stroke very quickly and ensure appropriate treatment, but if not treated quickly enough the damage to the brain can be permanent.

We are so pleased that Holly could have this life-saving intervention to remove the blood clot from her brain, and that she has made such a strong recovery.

“With plans moving ahead to build a new Children’s Hospital nextdoor to Addenbrooke’s we hope it will become easier to treat children with rare diseases like this. Young people across the east of England will then have easier access to all the different types of expertise and equipment they may need to make as full a recovery as possible.”

Holly’s mother Sarah Moore said: “We couldn’t be more thankful that Holly was treated by specialists at Addenbrooke’s. From start to finish her care was first class, we could not have asked for better.

“Saying thank you is not enough, which is why we will be supporting the building of the new children’s hospital by raising as much money as we possibly can. Every child deserves the very best care in hospital and the children’s hospital, which is due to be built next to Addenbrooke’s, will ensure that more youngsters from the east of England can access specialist care and facilities when they need it.”