Medical Advances Help North Texas Baby With Half A Heart

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A tiny baby at a North Texas hospital is alive today because of the skilled hands of surgeons and the advances in medical science. The infant was born with a rare type of heart defect — he only has half a heart.

When CBS 11 News saw Aaron Torres last week when he was just six days old and very sick. His heart continued to beat and pump blood with the help of medications — but he was in need of heart surgery.

Aaron has hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which means the left side of his heart is underdeveloped.

It’s a rare disease and Aaron’s mother, Stephanie Torres, was very nervous.

“Yes because he’s the first, my first baby, so it’s overwhelming, nervous, anxious to take him home,” she explained.

Stephanie first learned her son had a heart defect when she was just five months pregnant. The discovery was made during a sonogram. Since the diagnosis Stephanie was nervous about the surgery that would someday come.

heart 3 Medical Advances Help North Texas Baby With Half A Heart

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

Cardiac surgeon Dr. Eric Mendeloff would perform the operation that was first done successfully in 1981.

“Prior to that, there was no type of palliation or treatment for babies born with these heart defects and they died from it uniformly,” explained Mendeloff, the Founder and Surgical Director of the Congenital Heart Surgery Program at Medical City Children’s Hospital. “Now the short and long-term outcomes haven gotten much, much better, such that the survival with surgery is in excess of 85-percent.”

According to Mendeloff, advances with the surgical procedure and better treatment after surgery have greatly increased the survival rate for babies. But that didn’t mean there wouldn’t be risks with Aaron’s 8-hour surgery.

Mendeloff described the procedure as “very high-risk” and “complex.”

By the time Aaron is 3-years-old he will have undergone three major operations to reconstruct his heart to redirect the blood supply.

Eight hours after he was wheeled into the operating room, Aaron’s mother learned the first surgery was a success.

‘He’s going to be a normal baby, but here’s going to be some things he can’t do, like sports,” she said. “I want him to be able to run around and stuff life that.”

If all three surgeries go well, Aaron should be able to lead a reasonably active life.

Just a few days after his first surgery Aaron was taken off the breathing machine and was able to breathe on his own.

Aaron is still very sick but has made significant progress in recovery from his first surgery. As it stands doctors are expecting to discharge him from the hospital next week.

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  • Jeff Phillips

    Dr Mendeloff saved my baby’s life as well. Great guy very friendly and listens to you. Really great Doctor.

  • Veronica

    Yes Dr.Mendeloff is God sent!

  • Really Tired

    Sanctus Real’s lead singer, Matt Hammitt and his wife Sarah have a little boy, Bowen, who was born with this condition. He is doing great. They have started a foundation to help parents. Might Google it. They posted pictures of Bowen last week and he is so cute. I have been following his progress since he was born and it is amazing to see him looking like there is nothing wrong with him.

  • Jessica Beadles

    I have so much love for this man!! Dr. Mendeloff is an amazing man who deserves nothing but amazing things!!!

  • amy

    We love Dr. Kampine (anesthesiologist), Dr. Mendeloff and all the nurses who cared for our son at Medical City. We didn’t know about his defects until he was 5 days old and we are so thankful we were led to MCCH.

    If you are pregnant or know someone who is, please stress to them that at the 20 wk ultrasound, they should ask about the baby’s heart and not just its gender. Also, ask that a pulse ox test be done 24 hours after the baby’s born and again before discharge to make sure all is well, along with a bp check on all 4 extremities.


    May God bless Dr. Mendeloff and Dr. Kampine. They saved my granddaughter Julia who was born with HLHS 16 months ago. I’m so thankful to them as well as to all the nurses who cared for my little Julia at MCCH.

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