Callan Vitztum Callan’s Crew

First post: Nov 4, 2022
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.

Callan Ralph Vitztum was born into this world with “half a heart” on September 9, 2022. He has a rare congenital heart disease (CHD) called Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome (HRHS). When a baby has HRHS, they are born with their right ventricle being very small. This causes many problems for the baby because the right side of the heart is the side that pumps deoxygenated blood to the lungs to become oxygenated blood. In Callan’s case, his right ventricle is not able to pump blood through the pulmonary valve to his lungs. In order to fix this, he will undergo a minimum of 3 heart procedures in infancy and early childhood to try to give him a chance at life.

Callan was born at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, MO. At 6 days old, he underwent his first heart procedure, a heart catheterization, called a valvuloplasty. His surgeon inserted a catheter through an artery in his groin and went up that artery into Callan’s heart to balloon open Callan’s pulmonary valve, one of the valves in his heart. That procedure was successful and has allowed blood flow through that valve into Callan’s pulmonary arteries and into his lungs.

Unfortunately, at 11 days old, Callan started to get very sick. He developed a urinary tract infection (UTI) and started to show signs of being anemic. Callan received two blood transfusions and multiple transfusions of platelets. They started him on antibiotics to treat the UTI, but he wasn’t getting better.

At 13 days old, they found that Callan had become septic and Callan had free air in his abdomen. Callan had developed a life-threatening infection in his intestines called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and his bowels had perforated — he had stool leaking into his abdominal cavity. Callan underwent emergency surgery that day and had to have an ileacolectomy done. He came out of that surgery with a mucous fistula and stoma, requiring an ostomy bag.

A week later, at 20 days old, his incision dehisced — his sutures came undone and his intestines and part of his liver had come outside of his body and were out in the open. He underwent a second emergency abdominal surgery to put everything back inside and sew him shut again.

At 24 days old, he had to have a procedure done to have an abscess in his abdomen drained.

Through all of this, he has been intubated (put on a ventilator/breathing machine) a total of 5 times. He was on very strong antibiotics for 21 days and didn’t eat anything by mouth for 28 days.

Callan is now working on eating small amounts of milk by mouth and is receiving milk via an NG-tube. We are discussing when his next surgery will be to reconnect his intestines/get rid of his ostomy bag. We are also discussing the possibility of installing a G-tube for feeds. As of November 4, 2022, Callan has spent 8 weeks in the NICU at Children’s Mercy Hospital.