Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Prayers needed

Yesterday, my wife took our newborn son Alex in for a checkup since he had some minor crusty-like buildup around his eye. We were thinking it was something very minor like some type of eye infection. The pediatrician noticed something strange in his breathing pattern and monitored his heart, and referred us to Beaumont.

Beaumont did a number of tests and at first they thought it was nothing or maybe a virus, then further EKGs and Echocardiograms found he has a severe "coarctation of the aorta" which basically means the blood from the heart is not able to get to his body since the aorta is much smaller than it should be in a section, and also causing his left ventricle of his heart to work very hard.

Apparently this condition usually does not show itself until 3 to 7 days after birth and then the baby's vital signs rapidly deteriorates. This is because a ductus arteriosus closes (by design), and in Alex's case this extra artery was allowing sufficient blood flow. When it closed, the complications started.

We are now at the NICU in Children's Hospital at the DMC (Detroit). I have never been in an NICU before and it is scary when you have a child admitted there. It's rows and rows of little babies fighting to survive, with every kind of monitor and medical device you can imagine.

The doctors say this is a "common" condition (as heart defects go) and very fixable with a very high success rate. Surgery is scheduled for 9am Wednesday. We're sleeping in the NICU the next few nights.

What's amazing about this is had Jen not taken him in because of some puss build-up on his eye (which strangely enough hasn't been a problem today), this could have rapidly lead to heart failure out of the blue in the next few days.


Kelly Robinson said...

Please update about your son. My son James had surgery to repair coarctation in June. He was 5 months old before it was caught. He is doing well and I pray your son is too. You are welcome to email me at writingwork@aol.com

Ben M Abler said...


Thanks for the note. He is doing wonderfully and hopefully tomorrow we can stop all medications. He should be able to live a normal life. He also has a bicuspid aortic value but they tell us it's nothing to worry about and we'll just have to keep an eye on it as he grows.

Take care