A Missouri boy who made headlines in 2013 after being born with a congenital heart defect (CHD) is preparing for brain surgery this week, OzarksFirst.com reported.
Caleb Miller, who was born in March 2013, was able to receive a heart transplant when he was only four months old, but he experienced a massive stroke while on the transplant waiting list. The stroke damaged the left hemisphere of his brain and led to epilepsy.
The Springfield boy now has uncontrollable seizures. However, his family hopes that the brain surgery scheduled for this week will cure the condition. Doctors say there’s a 70 to 80 percent chance the operation will cause the seizures to stop completely, Ozarks First reported.
His mother, Desire Miller, expressed her frustration over the health complications that have stemmed from her son’s CHD.
“In a smooth course, there are tons of kids you would never know are born with any sort of heart defect,” she told the news station.
In light of CHD Awareness Month this February, she added that she hopes more research will be conducted to help other families, like hers, that are affected by CHD.
"Two and a half years ago before Caleb was diagnosed, I had no idea what the letters ‘CHD’ stood for," she said. "It is a serious epidemic that we have, but it's extremely underfunded and not well known."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in 4 babies born with a heart defected has a critical CHD and will need surgery or other procedures in the first year of life. Most causes of CHDs among babies are unknown, but genetics, as well as a mother’s diet, lifestyle or medication use during pregnancy have been linked to heart defects in the baby. The CDC estimates that about one in every 33 babies is born with a birth defect, and CHDs are the most common type.