Major heart surgery with minor incision makes safer operations for children

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA

Posted on October 19, 2012 at 10:49 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 19 at 10:49 PM

FORT WORTH -- Adam Hood was born with a congenital heart defect. He has already had two huge open-heart surgeries.

Instead of having his chest cracked open a third time, he underwent a major operation - without the major incision - at Cook Children's in Fort Worth.

This time, a replacement heart valve was threaded up a vein in Adam's leg, much like a stent is placed in an adult angioplasty.

Doctors call this less-invasive Melody valve procedure a huge advance for children.

"The patients come in, the procedure is several hours, they stay overnight, and go home the next day," said pediatric cardiologist Dr. Deborah Schutte.

Children's Medical Center Dallas performed the first Melody valve replacement two years ago. Medical City Children's hospital followed. Now that Cook Children's in Fort Worth is performing the procedure, patients from across North Texas will have expanded options.

Recovery from open heart surgery is typically six weeks. Adam will by home for the weekend.

"He looks terrific today compared to what he would've looked like if he'd had open heart surgery," said Adam's mother, Stacy Hood.

So Adam can go back to doing what he enjoys sooner.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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