Brave baby survives open-heart surgery at 1-week old

The worst fear came true for young parents who were told their one-week son had to have open-heart surgery.

First-time mother Aimee Roberts was devastated when doctors said her premature son Leo had four congenital heart problems.

These incredible pictures show a brave baby who had to undergo open heart surgery - aged just DAYS old. See SWNS story SWHEART; First time mum Aimee Roberts, 25, was left devastated when a scan just after birth showed baby Leo was suffering from four congenital heart problems. Aimee and partner Alex Nicholls, 26, were told their son would need open-heart surgery - and said they feared the worst. And the new mum said she had "never cried so much" as when she handed her son to the anesthetist when he was just seven days old - on the day he had been due to be born.

"Nothing can make you surrender more than having to give your child to a surgeon when there’s a chance of death. I have never cried so much," said mother Aimee Roberts.  (© Aimee Roberts / SWNS)

"It was awful. As soon as I found out I was hysterical," the 25-year-old mother from England told SWNS. "I didn't stop crying for weeks," said Aimee, who lives with her partner Alex.

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"We learned all about echocardiograms, ECG’s, monitors, blood tests, diagrams, risks and odds.

Aimee Roberts and her partner Alex Nicholls with their baby son Leo as he is treated in hospital. See SWNS story SWHEART; Incredible pictures show a brave baby who had to undergo open heart surgery - aged just DAYS old. First time mum Aimee Roberts, 25, was left devastated when a scan just after birth showed baby Leo was suffering from four congenital heart problems. Aimee and partner Alex Nicholls, 26, were told their son would need open-heart surgery - and said they feared the worst. And the new mum said she had "never cried so much" as when she handed her son to the anesthetist when he was just seven days old - on the day he had been due to be born.

The British couple were grateful to the doctors and nurses at St. Michael's Hospital, in Bristol, England for saving their newborn son's life.  (© Aimee Roberts / SWNS)

"Nothing can make you surrender more than having to give your child to a surgeon when there’s a chance of death. I have never cried so much."

The newborn was diagnosed with coarctation (narrowing) of the aortic arch, Patent Ductus Arteriosus (abnormal blood flow between the heart's arteries), multiple holes in the heart and Bicuspid Aortic Valve (two heart valves instead of three).

Since he was born a week prematurely, doctors had to wait seven days until he was the correct weight to operate on. Aimee said that if they had waited any longer, he could have died.

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"It was a complete blur when they were telling us the risks, death was an option. Along with paralysis, infection, damage to spinal cord, stroke and internal bleeding."

Leo's surgery was a success, but Aimee recalls going in to see him for the first time after surgery.

She said, "His eyes were puffy. He wasn’t alert. Covered in wires with a machine breathing for him. He was being pumped with medication."

The couple is grateful to the team of doctors and nurses who saved Leo's life at Bristol Children's Hospital.

"He still has two heart conditions, which we have a review for at the end of February. He's still not perfect, but he’s doing really well," Aimee said.