Stories about: Christina VanderPluym

Freedom in waiting: A ventricular assist device gives Aidan’s family independence

Aidan

When Aidan was just 8 months old, his parents Patrick and Tavina received shocking news—their son had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a rare but serious disease that affects the muscle of the heart. Given his young age and severity of his condition, the early prognosis was bleak.

“Things didn’t look good at first,” remembers Patrick. “We were steeling ourselves for the real possibility that Aidan wouldn’t make it to see his first birthday.”

But, heart condition or not, little Aidan was a fighter, and with minimal medical management his condition stabilized. Over the years, he grew stronger and was seen periodically by doctors from Boston Children’s Hospital’s Heart Center who monitored his heart health. However, even though Aidan had fared much better than originally hoped, there was never any doubt that his condition would worsen with time—when his doctors spoke about a heart transplant, it was in terms of when not if.

A turn for the worse

In November 2012, with Thanksgiving just a few days away, the last thing on 10-year-old Aidan’s mind was a big turkey dinner. He had suddenly gotten sick—vomiting, shivering and feeling very tired. His worried parents took him to their local hospital where he was admitted and treated for a virus. After six days in the hospital, Aidan was feeling better and was scheduled to go home the following day when his health took a dramatic turn. That night, Aidan suffered a stroke, which doctors believed may have been triggered by blood pooling in his heart, likely the result of his left ventricle not being able to pump with any real strength.

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