ImmunologyCaring for children with rheumatic and inflammatory diseases
, our physicians are skilled in diagnosis, treatment, and long-term monitoring of therapeutic effectiveness and coordination of care. The Pediatric Immunology team treats 3,000 outpatient visitors and 350 inpatients each year. We also treat one of the largest populations with periodic fever syndromes in the country. We offer a multidisciplinary approach to patient care and collaborate closely with Nephrology, Orthopaedic Surgery, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. The Immunology division is available for the diagnosis and treatment of congenital immune deficiency syndromes.
Services Offered and Conditions Treated
- Recurrent, complex and atypical infections
- Immune deficiency diseases
- Antibody deficiencies including agammaglobulinemia and selective antibody deficiency
- Neutrophil defects including neutropenia and chronic granulomatous disease
- T-cell defects including Severe Combined Immune Deficiency (SCID)
- Immunology Lab with Flow Cytometry
Emily Nicks is Back in the Game
Emily Nicks sometimes felt sore after playing softball in her hometown of Lemoore, but shortly after finishing first grade, she began to suffer from unrelenting muscle pain. Even as weakness interrupted Emily’s active lifestyle, a rash had already appeared on her thighs. It spread and covered her face like a heart-shaped red stamp. By mid-July Emily was too weak to move. Her desperate parents, Ryan and Donnell Nicks, brought her to Valley Children's Hospital.
Dr. Dowain Wright, the late medical director of pediatric immunology and pediatric rheumatology at Valley Children’s, discovered a rare and serious autoimmune disease of the muscles and skin, known as juvenile dermatomyositis. Unable to walk, stand or sit unsupported, Emily began receiving three days of IV infusions and one day of physical therapy per week, as well as daily oral medications. “I’ll never forget when Donnell called from rehab and says, ‘Emily rolled over today,’” said Ryan. “She went from her stomach to her back. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you lie there lifeless, it’s a big deal.”
Now in her seventh year of treatment, Emily visits Valley Children’s only one day per month and her medication is effectively controlling the disease. Dr. Wright’s success in forcing Emily’s rare childhood disease into remission required patience and tenacity, and his strategy led to a big win. “Emily played on the volleyball team this year!” exclaimed Donnell. Emily Nicks is back in the game.