Kid dies after second heart attack playing sports

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Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100
Kid dies after second heart attack playing sports

A 12-year-old boy had a heart attack in January while playing basketball at school. He had surgery a few days later to repair a heart defect. He died on Monday while playing baseball at school.

The debate: would you let your child play sports three months after surviving a heart attack? Does the fact that he had surgery to repair a heart defect make you feel better about your decision, one way or another?

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2012/04/23/national/a174353D64.DTL&tsp=1

Joined: 12/10/05
Posts: 1681

I would let my child do whatever the doctors had said he was able to do. I am skeptical that he would have been cleared for that sort of physical activity 3 months post cardiac surgery though.

Of course, 12 year olds also make their own decisions and he might have been doing things he wasn't allowed to do...

Either way, very tragic.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 274

"kris_w" wrote:

I would let my child do whatever the doctors had said he was able to do. I am skeptical that he would have been cleared for that sort of physical activity 3 months post cardiac surgery though.

Of course, 12 year olds also make their own decisions and he might have been doing things he wasn't allowed to do...

Either way, very tragic.

Exactly this. If he had been cleared I would be returning to the medical professionals for some explaining. I do find it hard to believe they would have cleared him this fast but I'm not a clinician either.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

I agree with Kris, esp about kids making their own decisions that don't necessarily reflect what their parents want (or don't want) them to do.

My oldest nephew had heart surgery when he was 5 for aortic coarctation and once he had physically recovered from the surgery itself he was cleared to participate in whatever sports he wanted. My SIL's heart was only functioning at 20% capacity and she had heart surgery just over a year ago for Wolff Parkinson White syndrome (while 7 mo pg!) and was cleared to have more children if she wanted to. Yeah, neither of them went into cardiac arrest like this boy, but both had serious heart defects that could've proven fatal if not detected. However, their activity levels weren't restricted post surgery. After having one heart surgery in January I doubt that there was another defect that went undetected. I feel that the boy was probably participating in an activity that he was told was too strenuous at that point but he just wanted to be a normal kid again.

RebeccaA'07's picture
Joined: 11/19/07
Posts: 1628

Seems early to me that he was allowed to play sports so quickly after a heart surgery. If it were my child, I would be more cautious about allowing him/her to resume sports. However, if the doctor cleared him/her and they felt well enough to play then it would be hard to say no.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

A classmate of Tiven's had heart surgery in Kindergarten and it was a full six months before he was allowed to run around, even though he felt good. And his mom said the doctors gave him a couple of ECGs, on a treadmill, before giving him the all-clear. We had to have a doctor's clearance to sign Tiven up for soccer, I'm just amazed that a doctor would clear a child for sports that quickly. I can't imagine letting a child back into sports three months after heart surgery, and especially when he had barely survived the first heart attack. I wouldn't have even let my child ask the doctor for clearance for sports at three months. Six months, maybe, if they'd done a really extensive exam including an ECG.

boilermaker's picture
Joined: 08/21/02
Posts: 1984

I don't know that I know what I would do-- but trust the physicians that were caring for my child and how quickly they will bounce back.

My FIL has had multiple bypasses and surgeries on his heart.....and he always resumes his 3 mile runs and walks soon after surgery. It isn't weeks, but it is months (and he's 76!) So I imagine young children would bounce back more quickly. It is astounding to me how quickly they get heart patients up and walking and using the muscles they just repaired.

Such a tragic story for this family, though. I imagine the guilt is terrible....