Skip to main content

The team arrived at Hospital Bloom at 7:00AM recharged after a long day yesterday. The goal today was to complete a record 6 cases in one day, which is quite a lofty goal given that some cases can take many hours to complete.

Guided by Dr. Kevin Shannon from UCLA Medical Center, the team readied themselves for a day dedicated to nurturing young hearts—a challenging yet profoundly rewarding endeavor. Each child they encountered not only battled a heart ailment but also harbored dreams and aspirations longing to transcend the confines of illness.

Gift of Life International utilizes the donations we receive to profoundly impact the lives of these children.

None of these children could have been saved without the invaluable assistance of our global network of partners, including Fundación Latidos de Esperanza, Regalo de Vida El Salvador, and HeartGift.

Astrid’s Renewed Dream

Today’s first case was sweet, 5-year-old Astrid Elizabeth who has Wolfe Parkinson White Syndrome (WPW).

Today’s first case was sweet, 5-year-old Astrid Elizabeth who has Wolfe Parkinson White Syndrome (WPW).

Astrid’s mom gives Dr. Kevin Shannon a big hug of gratitude.

Astrid’s mom gives Dr. Kevin Shannon a big hug of gratitude.

Today’s first case was sweet, 5-year-old Astrid Elizabeth who has Wolfe Parkinson White Syndrome (WPW). Astrid was originally scheduled for surgery tomorrow but experienced a serious episode of tachycardia yesterday. Thus, she was moved to the ICU to monitor her condition and was prioritized as the first case this morning.

Astrid lives with her parents, grandmother and younger brother in a small home in San Salvador. She likes to play piano, paint and draw. She wants to be a doctor when she grows up so she can help others in need.

Since her episodes can last up to several hours at a time, her parents have had to leave work several times to rush home to care for her or rush her to the hospital. The episodes of tachycardia are very scary for Astrid and her parents.

When Dr. Shannon came out of the cath lab this morning to let Astrid’s mom know that the procedure was successful and that she would no longer have to worry about any more episodes, she was overjoyed and gave Dr. Shannon a big hug of gratitude.

 

Patient Updates: Zoe, Dimas, and Josselyn

Before starting the second case of the day, Dr. Shannon went to see how all the patients from yesterday were doing. Zoe, Dimas and Josselyn were all doing great and were all released to go home.

Dimas and his mom had an 8-hour journey home to Honduras.

Dimas is recovering well and ready to go home and be with family.

Dimas is recovering well and ready to go home and be with family.

Before starting the second case, Dr. Shannon went to see how all the patients from yesterday were doing.

Before starting the second case, Dr. Shannon went to see how all the patients from yesterday were doing.

Josselyn was ecstatic because not only was she told that her 7-hour procedure was a success, but also that her heart was functioning so well that she would not need the pacemaker surgery which had been scheduled for tomorrow.

All patients are instructed to stay home with minimal activity for 2 days and then they may return to school with no strenuous physical activity for 2 weeks. After that, their life will be greatly improved, free of fear of future episodes of tachycardia, free of limitations and a chance to realize all their dreams!

 

 

 

Marissa’s Journey of Resilience

Marissa is a very active 10-year-old girl. She loves to play basketball, soccer and volleyball.

Marissa is a very active 10-year-old girl. She loves to play basketball, soccer and volleyball.

Marissa is a very active ten-year-old girl. She loves to play basketball, soccer, and volleyball. She also enjoys rock climbing and diving. In her less adventurous moments, she enjoys art, dancing and singing.

For such an active child to have episodes of supraventricular tachycardia is very scary. Her father recalls episodes where her heart was racing as high as 260 beats per minute.
Marissa’s father is a member of the San Salvador Cuscatlan Rotary Club which has been very active in and supportive of the development of the sustainable pediatric cardiac program at Bloom Hospital over the years.

Marissa and her family are so happy that her heart has now been healed and she no longer needs to worry about limitations for her active lifestyle or racing heartbeats.

 

 

 

Monica’s Stance of Courage

Nine-year-old Monica Fabiola has been living with Supra Ventricular Tachycardia for more than 2 years.

Nine-year-old Monica Fabiola has been living with Supra Ventricular Tachycardia for more than 2 years.

Nine-year-old Monica Fabiola has been living with SupraVentricular Tachycardia for more than 2 years. She was on the patient list for the Electrophysiology visit in 2023 and unfortunately was not able to be treated as the week was full and other patients had to be prioritized.

Her heart condition has been managed with medication. However, she does not live without episodes of tachycardia.

Monica was very nervous this morning, knowing that she would have her procedure today. At the same time, she was very happy that her heart would be healed.

She likes to do ballet and play basketball, but she is always scared that she will suddenly have an episode of tachycardia. She is also a studious, responsible girl who likes to spend time with her grandparents. Having her heart healed today will give her peace of mind and remove the limitations she has had due to her heart condition.

Patient Update: Ariana

Ariana Nicole was feeling better today. She was the first patient treated on Monday and needed to go back into the cath lab today for another ablation.

Ariana Nicole was feeling better today. She was the first patient treated on Monday and needed to go back into the cath lab today for another ablation.

Ariana Nicole was feeling better today.

She was the first patient treated on Monday and needed to go back into the cath lab today for another ablation.

Ariana was on standby all day since the team was waiting for her to have another episode of tachycardia before they took her back into the cath lab.

As soon as that happened, she was the next patient to be treated.

Having her heart in tachycardia actually helped the team to determine where in the heart the connection was that needed to be ablated.

Dr. Shannon will check her again tomorrow morning to be sure after today’s ablation she will no longer have episodes of tachycardia.

 

 

 

Fatima’s Story of Hope

Fatima Gabriela was the 5th patient. She lives several hours from the capital city of San Salvador with her large family.

Fatima Gabriela was the 5th patient. She lives several hours from the capital city of San Salvador with her large family.

Getting closer to the team’s goal for the day, Fatima Gabriela was the 5th patient. She lives several hours from the capital city of San Salvador with her large family. She has 4 brothers and no sisters.

Fatima was diagnosed with Wolfe Parkinson White syndrome one year ago. Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW) syndrome is a heart condition present at birth, which means it’s a congenital heart defect.

People with WPW syndrome have an extra pathway for signals to travel between the heart’s upper and lower chambers. This causes a fast heartbeat. Changes in the heartbeat can make it harder for the heart to work as it should.

Living with 4 brothers makes for a very active lifestyle. In the past year, Fatima has felt a great deal of stress because she is always worried she will have another episode of tachycardia while she is being active. She wants to be a doctor and is looking forward to having a healthy heart so she can work towards achieving her goals.

 

Brittany’s Second Chance

Brittany has dreams of being a cardiologist. She has been living with Supra ventricular tachycardia for 6 years.

Brittany has dreams of being a cardiologist. She has been living with Supra ventricular tachycardia for 6 years.

Brittany has dreams of being a cardiologist. She has been living with Supra ventricular tachycardia for 6 years.

She has had to stop playing sports at school and also had to stop dancing which is something she loves. Despite the limitations she has had to live with and the fear she experiences when having these episodes of tachycardia, she has a very positive attitude and is extremely excited to undergo her electrophysiology procedure today to heal her heart.

She is looking forward to her new life where she will be able to do whatever she wants without limitations.

Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is a type of irregular heartbeat, also called an arrhythmia. It’s a very fast or erratic heartbeat that affects the heart’s upper chambers. The typical heart beats about 60 to 100 times a minute. During SVT, the heart beats about 150 to 220 times a minute. Occasionally it beats faster or slower.

 

Another long and successful day comes to an end with a total of 12 children treated so far this week!

Leave a Reply