Baby's heart surgery delayed

August 26, 2005|by BOB MAGINNIS

Doctors have decided that Alivia Koontz, the Hagerstown area child born with a rare heart defect, should be a little older and gain a bit more weight before having her third heart operation.

Earlier this week, Alivia and her parents, Jimmy and Angela Koontz, traveled to the Nemours Cardiac Center of the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Delaware so the baby could undergo a heart catheterization.

"They didn't have a problem getting through her veins, but they did have a problem getting through the stent in her heart," Angela Koontz said.

Koontz said that by using a tiny camera, doctors were able to determine that "everything was clear and there was no blood clot."


But pressure in the right side of her heart was a bit elevated, so they did a CAT scan, the results of which haven't been shared with the Koontzes yet.

But doctors apparently didn't find anything that justified doing surgery immediately, so they sent Alivia home.

"She is about three or four pounds smaller than most of the patients they do, size-wise," Koontz said.

Despite that, Koontz said the doctor was impressed with how Alivia has grown and her color.

Surgery could come as soon as a month, or four months from now, Koontz said.

Even though Alivia didn't undergo surgery, Koontz said it was a nerve-wracking few days, in part because Alivia is so active.

After the catheterization, the child was supposed to lie still for six hours, Koontz said, but Alivia was having none of that. At one point, she did three complete rolls, snarling all of the wires and tubes she was attached to so thoroughly that nurses had to untangle the whole thing.

"Unfortunately, my daughter is a very determined child," Koontz said.

It wasn't surgery, but it was another procedure that insurance may or may not cover completely. If you can help, consider sending a check in care of Shiloh United Methodist Church, 19731 Shiloh Church Road, Hagerstown, MD 21742.

Bob Maginnis is Opinion Page editor of The Herald-Mail.

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