Like quite a few kids, 9-year-old Noah needed heart surgery when he was a baby. There are many kinds of heart problems; the one Noah had is called truncus arteriosus. That means his heart wasn't set up right to do its job — to pump blood around the body and make sure that oxygen-rich blood gets to every single cell.
After two surgeries when he was little, Noah's heart is working great. It's possible he might need another surgery when he's older, but he can do normal kid stuff with no problems. He likes to rock climb, ride roller coasters, and go on school field trips.
We talked to him about what it's like to have a heart problem.
When did you learn that you had a heart problem as a baby?
I've known for as long as I can remember.
How old were you when you had the surgery to repair your heart?
I was 37 hours old for my first heart surgery. I had another one when I was a couple months old.
Do you have a scar and has anyone ever asked about the surgery you had?
Yes, I have a scar down the middle of my chest. I just say I had surgery on my heart, but since it was so long ago, it's not really noticeable.
What do you want other kids and people in general to know about heart problems?
It's not too bad, and you can still do a lot of cool stuff.
What kind of special checkups do you get?
I see a cardiologist every year or so. Sometimes they take pictures of my heart [echocardiograms and EKGs] and he asks questions and listens to my heart.
Do you have any restrictions or limits on what you can do?
I take antibiotics before I go to the dentist. [This is to prevent a possible infection that could affect his heart.] My mom checks with the doctors to make sure it's OK that I go on fast roller coasters.
What would you say to another kid who is going through heart problems?
I would say don't be upset. You can still do cool stuff.
What grade are you in?
What do you like about school?
I like the field trips.
What do you dislike about school?
Nothing, I like school.
What's your favorite food?
Pizza is my favorite food.
What's your room like?
I have a world map, a "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" movie poster, and lots of Lego models.
What is your favorite sport or activity to do?
I like rock climbing and roller coasters. My favorite roller coaster was going upside down on the Aerosmith Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Disney World.
|National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) The NHLBI provides the public with educational resources relating to the treatment of heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases as well as sleep disorders.|
|Congenital Heart Information Network The Congenital Heart Information Network's goal is to provide information and resources to families of children with congenital and acquired heart disease, adults with congenital heart defects, and the professionals who work with them.|
|American Heart Association This group is dedicated to providing education and information on fighting heart disease and stroke. Contact the American Heart Association at: American Heart Association|
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|Heart-Healthy Recipes Love your heart with these heart-healthy recipes, including Chocolate Sweetheart Parfaits!|
|Heart Murmurs Everyone's heart makes sounds, but some people have hearts that make more noise than others. Usually, however, these heart murmurs don't mean anything is wrong. Find out more about these mysterious murmurs.|
|Cardiac Catheterization Sometimes doctors need a way to see inside your heart, do tests, and fix things. A cardiac catheterization is one way to do that - and the patient usually goes home that same day.|
|The Heart Your heart beats and sends oxygen throughout your entire body. Find out how it works and how heart problems can be fixed.|
|Getting an EKG (Video) Getting an EKG doesn't hurt and it gives doctors important info about how your heart is beating. Watch what happens in this video for kids.|
|What Happens in the Operating Room? Surgeries and operations happen in the operating room, sometimes called the OR. Find out more in this article for kids.|
|Movie: Heart & Circulatory System Watch this movie about circulation - the system that sends blood throughout your body.|
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