Alivia was just a baby when her heart began failing – a condition known as dilated cardiomyopathy. From the time Alivia was born, her parents knew that something was wrong, but thought her eating problems were due to reflux. It was during her six-month check-up when her mom realized it was something much more serious.
"She had completely fallen off the growth curve. They did an x-ray and it showed she might have heart problems."
Alivia underwent an echocardiogram at Memorial and a pediatric cardiologist reported that she had an enlarged left ventricle. Her heart was unable to effectively pump blood through her body, and was pressing on her stomach, causing digestive problems. Many children with a diagnosis of dilated cardiomyopathy require a heart transplant.
"We were in shock. This was every parent’s worst nightmare… the possibility of her needing a heart transplant… it was beyond scary."
Thankfully, after a thorough diagnosis from the team at Memorial Heart & Vascular, Alivia was referred for treatment at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. There, Alivia showed progress and her heart returned to its normal size. She had follow-up tests and check-ups at Memorial. About six months after her initial diagnosis, doctors gave Alivia’s parents the good news that she was expected to make a full recovery. Today, she is a healthy, active 8-year-old.
"The staff at Memorial rallied around us. They provided excellent care, even though Memorial does not typically care for pediatric patients. That echocardiogram and stabilizing treatment that Alivia received before her transfer was crucial. In my mind, that saved her life… no question about it."