Spoilers: Leanne and Steve learn more about mitochondrial disease in Corrie

Leanne Tilsley (Jane Danson) and Steve McDonald (Simon Gregson) were devastated in Coronation Street when the doctor informed them that son Oliver might have mitochondrial disease, and during tonight’s episode, they set out to find out as much as they can about their son’s diagnosis.

With Oliver having suffered three terrifying seizures, Leanne and Steve took the young lad to the hospital, where the doctors started running tests.

The latest episode saw the young boy taken for a brain scan, and —later — Dr Ward (Zitta Sattar) returned, and revealed that said scan highlighted changes in Oliver’s brain, and therefore the next step was to run some genetic blood tests.

After doing just that, Dr Ward informed Leanne and Steve that it’s possible Oliver has mitochondrial disease.

She asked them to stay off the internet while they await a definitive diagnosis, but they’re eager to learn all they can about their son’s possible diagnosis, and therefore Steve does some investigating of his own.

As they keep a vigil at Oliver’s bedside, Steve browses the web — determined to learn whatever he can about mitochondrial disease.

What is mitochondrial disease?

Mitochondrial diseases result from failures of the mitochondria, specialized compartments present in every cell of the body (except red blood cells).

Mitochondria are responsible for creating more than 90% of the energy needed by the body to sustain life and support organ function. When they fail, less and less energy is generated within the cell. Cell injury and even cell death follow. If this process is repeated throughout the body, whole organ systems begin to fail.

The parts of the body, such as the heart, brain, muscles and lungs, requiring the greatest amounts of energy are the most affected.

Symptoms vary depending on the organ(s) affected but may include seizures, atypical cerebral palsy, autistic features, developmental problems, fainting and temperature instability.

According to United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, the prognosis depends upon the severity of the disease and other criteria. As more research funds are raised to find more effective treatments and ultimately a cure, some of the affected children and adults are living fairly normal lives with mitochondrial disease.

In other cases, children may not be able to see, hear, talk or walk. Affected children may not survive beyond their teenage years. Adult onset can result in drastic changes from an active lifestyle to a debilitating ilness is a short amount of time.

Treatment plans vary from patient to patient but involve therapies, diet changes and other means to try and slow the progress of the disease.

You can find out more information from the NHS here.

Afterwards, he’s somewhat upbeat, as he reveals that there are different strains and that many people with the disease lead full and normal lives.

However, his mood changes when the doctor explains that more tests need to be done, and he loses his rag, as he demands to know whether his son is going to live or die.


Later, he fondly reminisces with Leanne about Oliver’s childhood, but Nick (Ben Price) has a more serious approach in mind.

What will transpire?

Coronation Street continues Wednesday 20 May at 7:30pm on ITV.

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