Roman Macias was born with a broken heart. Now, doctors are on a mission to fix it. Over the past year, staff at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center in Las Vegas have been repairing Roman’s heart, which lacks a left ventricle due to a congenital condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS). Because of it, his heart has trouble pumping blood into the rest of his body. But despite the severity of his case, Roman is a survivor. When the boy celebrates his first birthday in the Hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit, where he has spent his entire life so far, it will be a major milestone for his caregivers and family. Each day that Roman lives is a success, said Dr. Oscar Ingaramo, MEDNAX-affiliated pediatric intensivist. While surgeries can help restore some heart function, doctors cannot construct the missing left ventricle. That leaves the blood only partially oxygenated, causing an irregular heartbeat. At one point, Roman was placed in a medically induced coma to keep him from moving. The additional agitation could have had lethal effects, Ingaramo said. After an open heart surgery in April, Roman’s heart stopped, Ingaramo said. He was placed on a heart and lung bypass machine called ECMO until he stabilized. “Now, he’s slowly getting better — but it’s taking us a long way,” he said.
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