An 11-month-old Wooster, Ohio, boy is awaiting a heart transplant at Cleveland Clinic.
When little Jaxxon Wellman, who was born April 12 at Wooster Community Hospital, was admitted to Cleveland Clinic in December, health-care professionals thought he had been having trouble absorbing formula.
He had always been on “the lower side of weight gain,” said his mother, Jessica Austin; however, by December he had virtually “stopped growing.”
But after three days of testing, “They couldn’t find anything wrong with him,” Austin said.
In checking his heart as a routine measure, they heard “an echo,” she said, and upon further examination, diagnosed him with ALCAPA (anomalous left coronary artery from the pulmonary artery).
According to online medical information, ALCAPA is a fairly rare congenital defect occurring during the development of the baby’s heart in utero and resulting in the left coronary artery (LCA) that carries blood to the heart muscle originating in the pulmonary artery instead of the aorta.
Subsequently, blood lacking in oxygen is carried to the heart muscle on the left side of the heart. Because the heart muscle does not get enough oxygen, tissue begins to die from lack of oxygen.
Jaxxon was put in the pediatric intensive care unit, Austin said, “and a couple of days later (at the beginning of January) had open heart surgery at 8 months old.”
“The surgery itself was successful,” she said, but several days later he suffered a stroke, although he had appeared to be recovering from heart surgery and “seemed like he was OK.”
While he experienced “good days and bad days,” Austin said, “his heart itself is not healing on its own,” prompting a determination by his doctors to place Jaxxon on the heart transplant list.
Jaxxon has spent 90 percent of his time in the PICU, Austin said, and will remain in the hospital while he awaits a transplant, for which he is at the top of the list.
Austin is looking ahead to her baby’s first birthday, and so as “not to miss out on it,” has gotten permission to celebrate it in the hospital lounge.
Austin works in the cafeteria at Edgewood Middle School and has five other children, ranging in age from 2 to 13. She visits Jaxxon in the hospital every day and is grateful to her mother for helping her navigate her difficult schedule.
Even so, said Austin, “Every day I think, how am I going to do this again tomorrow?”