In the middle of the night this past June, Cristy Lucke, 38, from New York City, was sleeping when she suddenly woke up convulsing and lost consciousness. Her husband called 911 and she was taken to Lenox Hill Greenwich Village, part of Lenox Hill Hospital (LHH), a member of Northwell Health. A computed tomography (CT) scan revealed a large brain tumor located within the right frontal lobe. Ms. Lucke learned that what she had experienced that night was a grand mal seizure.
“Ms. Lucke was transferred to LHH because of this convulsive seizure and the continued risk of seizures given the large tumor, both of which would need immediate management” said Derek Chong, MD, LHH’s vice chairman, neurology and director of the epilepsy program. “In speaking to Ms. Lucke we learned that she was having smaller seizures in the past few months, consisting of talking gibberish or feeling frozen in place for just 30 seconds at a time.”
“We determined that due to the size and accessible location of the brain tumor, Ms. Lucke would benefit from total resective surgery, completely removing the mass from her brain,” said Dr. Boockvar.
Ms. Lucke’s brain mapping was performed in two-stages. Ms. Lucke was first admitted to the hospital’s epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU). “A vEEG test was performed allowing us to monitor Ms. Lucke’s brainwave activity during the time a seizure occurred,” said Dr. Chong. “The vEEG was recording several of the smaller seizures each day, the abnormal brainwave activity from the right frontal and temporal lobes was accompanied by body rocking and freezing in place. She required two anti-seizure medications to temporarily halt seizure activity.”
Ms. Lucke then underwent the second stage. Dr. Boockvar collaborated with Dr. Chong within the operating room to identify the areas around the tumor where seizures were arising. Dr. Boockvar placed electrodes onto the surface of the brain “to determine a more precise location in which we could do the surgery, allowing us to remove the mass without affecting critical areas of the brain.”
The stage allowed Dr. Chong to pinpoint the areas with abnormal electrical activity surrounding the tumor, and see what was still abnormal after its removal. Using navigation technology, Dr. Boockvar then completely resected the entire brain tumor. “Once the tumor was removed, we also had it genetically characterized by whole genome sequencing in collaboration with Rockefeller University and the New York Genome Center,” said Dr. Boockvar.
Since Ms. Lucke’s surgery, Dr. Chong was able to reduce the dosage of anti-seizure medications and she remains seizure free. Ms. Lucke has been able to resume her busy life as a mother two, young boys, ages 3 and 6. “Dr. Chong and Dr. Boockvar were very good at explaining everything,” said Ms. Lucke. “I am glad that my case has a good outcome. I feel very grateful to receive good news from Dr. Chong and Dr. Boockvar every time I see them.”
About Lenox Hill Hospital
Lenox Hill Hospital, a member of Northwell Health, is a 652-bed, fully accredited, acute care hospital located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side with a national reputation for outstanding patient care and innovative medical and surgical treatments. US News & World Report has ranked the hospital among the nation’s top 50 in Cardiology and Heart Surgery and among the top 10 hospitals in the state of New York with a total of 11 “high performing” designations for its clinical performance in Cancer, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Ear, Nose & Throat, Gastroenterology & GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Nephrology, Neurology & Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology and Urology. For more information, go to www.lenoxhillhospital.org.