Tyler was due to be born on Christmas Day 2005. He came one day early on December 24. He was a healthy, easy baby. His birth as well as his stay in the hospital was run of the mill. No issues, no complications. We brought him home Christmas evening and he did well. Six months later in June 2006, we went to his well baby checkup. His pediatrician heard a murmur. This was the first time anyone had mentioned a murmur and Since it was an odd finding, Dr. Ruo decided that Tyler needed an echo. However, since Tyler was so healthy, they didn’t schedule his cardiologist visit as an emergency. The following month, on July 27, we took Tyler for his echo. The cardiologist gave us the “a lot of babies have murmurs, he’s healthy, I’m sure this is nothing” speech. And then they did the echo. He immediately turned pale and said “Your son has a very serious heart defect. I need to call life flight and the heart surgeon now!” And left the room. They had found that Tyler had ALCAPA (anomolus left coronary artery from pulmonary artery) which deprived his heart muscle of oxygen. Due to this defect, Tyler had a heart attack which caused an aneurism (weak area in his heart) and a very bad leak in his mitral valve. They took him via ambulance to the helipad and flew him two hours away to the closest children’s hospital. We were in absolute shock. The idea that Tyler had a heart attack and we didn’t know it, and he survived at home was crazy. The fact that our perfect, easy, happy baby was sick was shocking. By the time we arrived, he was settled in his room, IVs started, blood work completed. The surgeon, Dr. Pourmagadam, spoke with us at great length (over an hour) about the surgery that was already scheduled for the next morning. On July 28 at 7 am they came and took my baby to surgery. He was in the OR for eight hours and they were able to repair his artery. He stayed in the hospital for less than a week after, and we brought him home as happy and easy as he’s always been. He continues to a medication for his enlarged heart and leaky valve, and having the valve replaced is still a possibility in the future. His cardiologists are amazed that he lived for six months with his heart in that condition and told us that babies with his diagnosis are usually found by the parents and labeled with a cause of death as SIDs. They had never diagnosed ALCAPA in a check up like that and haven’t since. But he is now a very intelligent and happy ten year old boy.
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