Isaiah’s story

After a scan during pregnancy, Isaiah’s mum, Karen, knew something was terribly wrong with his tiny heart.

"The rest of the pregnancy was awful. You start thinking… even if he does survive, what kind of life is my child going to have?"

When he was born, Karen’s worst fears were realised. “It was the worst case scenario. His heart was so bad that they couldn’t repair it.”

Little Isaiah had four open-heart surgeries, all before he reached kindergarten — the first when he was just six days old. He will need yet another open-heart surgery before he is five-years-old.

Just 30 years ago, not one child survived Isaiah’s heart condition. Today, thanks to research, 85% do. Isaiah’s parents are now hopeful that research can give their children the chance to live a long and healthy life, too.

Becoming a Wonder Worker allows the Children's Hospital Foundation to commit to life-saving research, which helps children like Isaiah.

Isaiah’s journey, as told by Dr Nelson Alphonso, Director of Queensland
Paediatric Cardiac Research

22.01.15 (5 days old)  – The Norwood procedure

My team successfully placed a small tube inside Isaiah’s heart to allow it to pump blood to his lungs. This is the Norwood procedure – an open heart surgery and a research breakthrough that has enabled babies like Isaiah to live.
Survival rate without surgery: 0%

29.04.15 (3 months old) – The Glenn procedure

We used the Glenn procedure to replace the small tube with a bigger valve; it will be strong enough to handle Isaiah’s blood circulation as he grows. Isaiah and his mum have been living at the hospital in case something goes wrong: if his heart starts to leak, he will die.

01.05.15 – An unexpected hiccup

Isaiah was rushed back into theatre for an unplanned open-heart surgery to adjust his new heart valve. Fortunately, the procedure was a success. It’s a team effort to solve complex problems like this and we often come up with a solution that we want to test. That’s the research effort.

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