Brave Aiden faces heart surgery

A COUPLE are counting down the days until their seven-month-old baby undergoes the first operation towards correcting a rare heart condition.Aiden Bloss has a serious heart condition that needs urgent treatment if he is to live a normal life.

A COUPLE are counting down the days until their seven-month-old baby undergoes the first operation towards correcting a rare heart condition.

Aiden Bloss has a serious heart condition that needs urgent treatment if he is to live a normal life. As his tiny body continues to grow, the strain on his heart will prove too much unless major corrective surgery is carried out.

His family are now crossing off the days until Aiden goes in to hospital for the first operation that will eventually lead to open heart surgery.

Aiden, who lives with parents, Emma Blower and Duncan Bloss, in Laxfield, between Framlingham and Halesworth, was born with a severe heart defect.

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He has a hole in his heart and two blood vessels going in to the right-hand side of it, instead of one on either side. The combination of problems is so rare that doctors at Ipswich Hospital said they had never seen it before.

Doctors said there was no specific reason for the condition - it is not hereditary and there are no other factors which would make Emma, 19, more likely to have a baby with it than anyone else.

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The only slight possibility doctors have been able to offer is that it could have been caused by Emma coming in to contact with a viral infection in the early stages of pregnancy.

The condition was picked up at Emma's 20-week scan, when she underwent tests for spina bifida because it runs in Duncan's family, and she then had to have an amniocentesis test to determine if there were any further problems.

Fortunately, the tests came back clear and Aiden was born in London, three weeks early, on December 28 last year.

“Until he was actually born, no-one really knew how bad things were going to be,” said Emma, who is a nursery nurse.

“There was a chance they were going to operate immediately at that point and they had a specialist team ready to whisk him away to intensive care as soon as he was born.

“It was very frightening as we just didn't know if he was going to survive. When he cried, it was just the most amazing thing as we didn't know if he would even be able to do that.”

Although Aiden appears to be a healthy baby, there are times when his condition surfaces, causing frightening seizures.

“He will turn blue or go all sweaty and we have to rush him to the hospital straight away,” said Emma.

“It's frightening because every time this happens, they have to reassess his condition and it could mean they need to do the operation straight away.”

At the moment Aiden is on a course of medication to keep his heart healthy and has a diet of high fat, high energy milk as his condition means he burns off more energy than he takes in because of the strain on his heart.

Emma also has to be careful not to let her little son cry for too long because of the strain it will put on his heart and has to be extra cautious when it comes to him picking up any germs.

“We are not allowed to take him to any toddler groups and when he goes to the doctor's, he's not allowed to go into normal waiting rooms. We have to go and sit with him in a completely separate room,” she said.

The family have become accustomed to travelling to and from Guy's Hospital in London to visit the specialist team treating Aiden on a regular basis, but Emma said it would have been impossible to do it without the support of her mum and dad, Teresa and Darryl Blower, from Melton.

She added: “There have been some very difficult times, but the support we've had from all our relatives has been amazing. Everyone thinks Aiden is such a special little boy and has rallied around to help.”

Following a consultation at Guy's Hospital last week, the family have been told that Aiden will have an operation within the next two weeks to open up his arteries and provide a short-term fix.

But doctors are reluctant to carry out the full procedure yet as he is so small and the family will then have to wait up to two years for the final operation, which will involve replacing Aiden's pulmonary valve.

“I'm quite gutted because I thought it would be over and done with in one operation. I'm glad something will happen so soon, but it is only temporary and so we will still be on edge,” said Emma.

“There is a possibility that he will need other operations in the future, but they just don't know yet.

“Until they get him in there and can look inside him, they won't be able to fully assess the situation. If it all goes to plan, they are hopeful this will be the only one he needs.”

Conal Austin, a surgeon at Guy's Hospital, said: “The combination of conditions that Aiden has is a severe form of a congenital heart defect, but is readily fixable.

“We would hope that a child who undergoes this kind of surgery would lead a full and normal life, but they would need to return for further operations to replace the valve as they grow because the valve will not grow with them.”

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