AJ Richardson Baby AJ Heart Warrior

First post: Aug 2, 2022 Latest post: Jan 17, 2023
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AJ was just a week old when we took him for his one week check up. The nurse practitioner couldn’t get a temp on him. We told her he didn’t want to eat very good for us the day before. She immediately sent us to Parkland ER. Parkland still couldn’t  get a temp and when they did it was only 93. They noticed AJ was then lethargic and not wanting to respond unless stimulated. They decided that AJ needed to be transferred to Children’s Hospital. Once Children’s air vac team arrived they had to place AJ on a ventilator because of him not breathing well. Chidren’s Hospital immediately started testing to find the cause of AJ’s symptoms.  AJ had tested positive for rhinovirus but he rapidly started to decline. The team at Children’s decided to do a spinal tap and and that came back as him having enterovirus myocarditis and meningitis. Enterovirus myocarditis is a rare but severe disease in the neonatal period, which often leads to death or results in serious chronic cardiac sequelae like chronic heart failure, aneurysm formation within the left ventricle and mitral regurgitation.  On the third day  AJ was sent to the heart center and placed on ECMO. ECMO is a temporary heart and lung machine that circulates blood and oxygen throughout the body, allowing a child’s organs the chance to rest and recover. AJ had his ups and downs even once placed on ECMO but was able to be taken off ECMO at almost two weeks. He was also placed on a heart transplant list, in case things didn’t go well and not able to recover on his own. After one week being off ECMO, AJ has started to have some complications.  AJ heart rate started increasing causing some cardiac arrhythmia’s and developed a bacterial infection. Cardiac arrhythmia occurs when electrical impulses in the heart don't work properly.  The next couple of days the doctors and their team will continue to watch baby AJ and not make any big changes due to the bacterial infection and increased heart rate and  let the antibiotics kick in to help the bacterial infection. If  AJ starts improving once he finishes the antibiotics for the bacterial infection they will begin to wean him off more of his medication and then the ventilator.  After AJ being on antibiotics to help the bacterial infection for several days he has not improved any.  He is still having a high heart rate and more cardiac arrhythmias so the doctors and their team decided they want to do a VAD. VAD is which is a mechanical circulatory support device-a device that helps pump blood from the lower chambers of your heart to the rest of your body.  Currently AJ is doing good and we’re just waiting for a heart.