Contributed by Vincent’s mom Tamara.
When my father died of a heart attack at the age of 39, I was only 4 years old. It was very hard on me and I always feared that I would have a heart problem or my kids would have one. Our pediatrician recommended that both my son and daughter be seen by a cardiologist to be sure that their hearts were healthy.
She asked that I get my children cleared by the cardiologist, so of course; I called Nemours Children’s Health, since we’ve had previous appointments there. My daughter and son both had an EKG; Dr. Steven Ritz, our Nemours pediatric cardiologist, said that something showed up on Vincent’s EKG and that he would need to have an ultrasound.
Dr. Ritz went over his findings in detail with us. Vincent was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) Syndrome, a condition in which he has an extra electrical receptor in his heart, making him “extra special,” as Vincent understood. Dr. Ritz drew a picture of his heart to help us understand and to help ease our fears. When we left Dr. Ritz’s office, my son was no longer scared. He was relaxed and calm.
It turned out that WPW isn’t inherited and has nothing to do with my father and my family history of heart-related illness. But, by being referred to a cardiologist early on (we are most grateful to our pediatrician), my son will be able to get the treatment he needs before any problems arise.
That’s where Dr. Temple comes in. He is a cardiologist who specializes in heart rhythm disorders and will use a catheter to do a cardiac ablation to fix the abnormal EKG by locating and stopping the extra electrical receptor in Vincent’s heart. “After talking to Dr. Temple, my eight-year-old son felt ready to be fixed.”
My son will have to lay low for a little bit after his procedure. He won’t be able to go to gym class for 2-3 weeks. But, after that he will be able to go to Jiu-Jitsu with his sister, Gianna, swim in the pool this summer, and play with his dog, T’Challa.
Vincent’s procedure is taking place today on one of his favorite days, “Star Wars Day”. May the 4th be with you!