Stories about: heart defect

A lifelong patient makes a long-term commitment to Boston Children’s

Labor Day Weekend, 1970.

Rhode Island State troopers escort an ambulance racing towards the Massachusetts border. There, Mass state troopers take over the escort and hurry the ambulance to Boston Children’s Hospital, where Dr. Donald Fyler is waiting. Upon arrival Fyler quickly determines that the vehicle’s most important passenger– a newborn baby – has a rare heart condition that demands complex surgery. Immediately.

The baby is rushed inside and a few hours later emerges from surgery with a repaired heart.

42 years later, Jim Skeffington is still very much a part of the hospital that saved him that summer day.

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A new approach to treating children awaiting heart transplant

After Kyah was diagnosed with heart failure, doctors said it could take up to a year or longer before she was ready for a heart transplant. But through research and specialized permission from the FDA, Boston Children’s doctors implanted a portable, motorized pump in her heart, allowing her to return to school and live a normal life while she awaits transplant.

UPDATE: Since the filming of this video a donor heart became available for Kyah, and after a successful transplant surgery and recovery period, she’s doing well and has been discharged from Boston Children’s.

Learn more about Boston Children’s Heart Transplant Program.

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Giving children a heart valve that can grow with them

Allie Duhe

When her twins were born, everything seemed to be going according to plan for Emily Duhe. “My husband and I wanted lots of kids, and we were so happy to start a big family,” she recalls.

Within a couple of months, though, it was clear that one of the twins, Allie, was in trouble. “We brought her to the hospital thinking she had pneumonia,” Emily says.

“That’s when they found multiple defects in her heart.”

Logan Narolis

It’s a familiar story. Margaret Narolis’ son Logan was also born with a major heart defect. “When Logan was born we were told he’d need to have multiple surgeries to reconstruct his heart,” she says.

The two families, separated by thousands of miles—the Duhes live in Louisiana, the Narolises in upstate New York—both came to Boston Children’s Hospital looking for better treatment options for their children’s damaged hearts.

Fortunately, they found what they were looking for.

Logan and Allie are now part of a small group whose hearts are beating with the help of a new expandable replacement valve—one that essentially can be made to grow as they do.

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