Entries in Heart Defects (3)


Firefighters Rally for Baby With Heart Defect

Arnold Family/Facebook(LOS ANGELES) -- Four-month-old Paisley Mae Arnold looked perfect from the outside: chubby cheeks, giant eyes and a wisp of dark blond hair. She would occasionally wheeze, but doctors told her parents not to worry about that.

Then, last Thursday, doctors at Loma Linda University Medical Center Children’s Hospital in Loma Linda, Calif., told the baby’s parents, Rick and Charity Arnold, that Paisley Mae wasn’t perfect.

She’d need a heart transplant to survive.

“She’s just a very special little girl, and we’re both looking forward to seeing her grow up, God willing,” Rick Arnold, a paramedic at Fire Station 302 in Hesperia, Calif., told KABC, the ABC-owned station in Los Angeles.

Paisley Mae was born without a left coronary artery, which caused her to have an enlarged heart, according to KABC. There is no cure, and she will eventually need a transplant. The night of the Feb. 21 diagnosis, she had a major bandycardic event, meaning her heart rate dangerously slowed, prompting doctors to do chest compressions and put her on a machine called an ECMO, which bypasses the heart to oxygenate the blood.

The close-knit group of firefighters at Station 302 has helped Arnold with shifts so that he can spend time with his daughter in the hospital, firefighters told KABC. They also began raising money by selling T-shirts and holding a charity 5K run. An online fundraiser, A Change of Heart for Paisley Mae, has already raised $7,833, according to its page on — $3,833 more than the original goal.

“Having this burden on their shoulders is difficult enough without having to worry about everyday bills and medical bills, so our hope is to just lessen that for them,” firefighter Blake Berg told KABC.

On Monday, doctors performed a six-hour surgery to give Paisley a Berlin Heart, which works outside the body to pump blood and maintain the other organs, hoping to buy Paisley some time until she can get a transplant. However, her lungs became inflamed and caused a hemorrhage after surgery, so doctors put her back on the ECMO machine, according to the Arnolds' Facebook page.

“Your continued love and support is a huge reason we are making it through this,” the Arnolds wrote on their Facebook page, which now has nearly 3,000 likes. “Thank you.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Boy Who Survived Heart Attack Dies During Baseball Practice

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- An Oregon middle school student died Friday after collapsing during baseball practice, just months after he suffered a heart attack during basketball practice and later underwent surgery to correct a heart defect.

According to ABC affiliate KATU-TV in Portland, witnesses said 12-year-old Isaac Arzate started coughing up blood during Friday evening’s practice and collapsed.

Back in January, doctors told Arzate’s family that his heart attack occurred as a result of a defect characterized by an artery not originating in the proper place in the heart, reported The Oregonian.

After surgery to repair the defect, doctors said the sixth grader would have to wait six to eight weeks before participating in sports again.

Officials said there will not be an autopsy since Arzate died of natural causes.

Dr. Paolo Rusconi, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine, said without knowing more details, he can only speculate that Arzate suffered from a coronary artery defect.  Even after surgery, this type of anomaly can still carries risks.

“The coronary arteries are so small that when you do surgery on them, there is always the possibility that after surgery because there is scarring, there can be clots, or the heart muscle can become necrotic and lead to heart attacks,” he said.

Sudden death in children is very uncommon, Rusconi explained, and there are a number of conditions that can cause it.

“Among the cardiac causes of sudden death, particularly in athletes, is hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a condition characterized by the thickening of the heart muscle,” he said.

An irregular heartbeat can also cause sudden death, since the heart may suddenly stop beating or may beat so fast that it can’t effectively pump blood, he added.

There are also congenital defects such as coronary artery defects and aortic stenosis that can lead to sudden death, Rusconi added.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Should Teens Be Screened for Heart Problems?

Comstock/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- Medical experts have long debated whether teens, particularly athletes, should be screened for heart conditions.  When young athletes such as Wes Leonard, the young Michigan basketball player who died in early March moments after scoring the winning shot for his team, literally drop dead due to underlying heart conditions, parents and physicians begin to wonder if there is anything that can be done to prevent it from happening. 

In some countries in Europe, all high school age children undergo electrocardiograms, or ECGs, to check for certain heart defects.  This isn't done in the U.S., however, because many experts think general screening isn't efficient and wouldn't lead to a sizable reduction in sudden deaths in young adults.

However, by screening over 50,000 high school students in the greater Chicago area using ECG, researchers at the Midwest Heart Foundation detected particular heart conditions, known to be associated with sudden cardiac death, in 2.16 percent of the kids.  They argue their findings show that ECG screening is beneficial and should be implemented as part of a physical for all high school students.

Even so, four out of five medical experts consulted tell ABC News they still don't think such screening is justified.

The lone supporter of general screening recalled that once, when telling the father of a teen volleyball player who had died on the court that ECG screening isn't cost effective, the grieving father replied, "Be sure to include the cost of the funeral."

The Midwest Foundation Thursday presented the argument for teen heart screenings at the Heart Rhythm Society meeting in San Francisco.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio