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WIBW: Young fighter shows heart

By Melissa Brunner


The sound of laughter filling their living room is music to Lynzie and Rhett Reynolds' ears.

"He looks like a normal baby," Lynzie says as she gazes at their five-month-old son, Liam.

What people can't see is the hole in Liam's heart.

"He really is a miracle," Rhett said.

A series of sonograms at 22 weeks revealed Liam had a heart defect.

Stormont Vail referred the couple to Children's Mercy, where they were followed closely. Liam arrived September 11th, at 37 weeks. He weighed three pounds, 13 ounces.

Lynzie says she's grateful the early diagnosis gave doctors a good idea of what to expect when Liam arrived, and study available options.

He had a congenital heart defect known as tetralogy of fallot, which includes a hole between the heart's lower chambers, and narrowing of his pulmonary artery.

"The amount of blood flow to their lungs is restricted and if blood flow to the lungs is restricted, they tend to be blue. They tend to have lower oxygen saturations," explained Dr. John Plowden, a pediatric cardiologist with Children's Mercy who is based at Topeka's Cotton O'Neil Heart Center.

Dr. Plowden says the first job for babies like Liam is to grow.

"Obviously, the smaller they are, the more difficult," Dr. Plowden said. "We've come a long, long way in being able to treat those babies, but we can't do the same sort of things in a 1500 gram baby that we can do in a five-year-old child."

Without treatment, children with a condition like Liam's may not survive. However, Dr. Plowden said the past several decades have brought advances that give reason for optimism.

"The progress we've made in treating these babies in my career has been remarkable," he said. "Things we kinda threw in the towel early in my career - now, we do a good job with those babies."


Read the full story via WIBW

Learn more about the Heart Center at Children's Mercy