Diagnosed at 4 months old, Tim suffered from a rare heart condition (L-TGA) in which the lower half of his heart operated in reverse. Instead of the stronger half of his heart pumping blood to his body, it served his lungs. And the weaker half worked in overdrive to pump blood to his body.
Tim also was born with other heart defects. A hole in his heart was repaired when he was just 5 months old. During that same surgery, a pacemaker was installed to remedy an irregular heartbeat.
Over the next 2 years, Tim had 3 surgeries to prepare him for the complicated "Double Switch" procedure. This complicated surgery disconnects major blood vessels from the heart chambers they are currently attached to and reconnects them to the correct chambers. Tim underwent this procedure in June, 2010. While the surgery successfully reconfigured the vessels, his heart did not recover fully and he was in heart failure. His heart function slowly declined and in March of 2012, he was placed on the list for transplant.
On May 30, 2012, he went into cardiac arrest and was admitted to Lurie’s Childrens Hospital in Chicago until he was fortunate enough to receive a heart transplant June 20. Since transplant Tim has recovered well, with just a few bumps in the road. He was officially discharged from the hospital July 26, 2012.
Despite his diagnosis, Tim has always lived a very full and relatively normal life for a 5 year old boy. We are always in close contact with his cardiology team, and he is on several medications daily to prevent rejection of his new heart. While our family has gotten past a significant hurdle, we will always have to watch Tim closely. Regardless, we have always focused on making the most of the day to day and try to enjoy the simple things the best we can.
Tim’s family is grateful for the pediatric cardiac research funded by the American Heart Association. It has given Tim and other children like him a chance at a long and healthy life.