N.J. Boy, 14, 'Flat-lined' by Heart Attack, Recovers and Looks to Stem Cells for Cure

The family of a 14-year-old athlete from Elizabethtown, N.J., who suffered a near-fatal heart attack last month is seeking a permanent cure for the boy's condition, The Press Republican reported.

Brock Marvin suffered a heart attack at his home just before the end of his eighth-grade school year. His father, Walter Marvin, discovered the boy convulsing on a rocky ledge in the family's backyard.

He was quickly rushed to Elizabethtown Community Hospital where doctors connected Marvin to monitors and determined he had flat-lined, the report said.

Marvin was given a shot of medicine to jumpstart his heartbeat, which then "self corrected" and once again began beating, Walter Marvin told The Press Republican. .

A state police helicopter later brought Brock Marvin to Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, N.J., where he was diagnosed with a genetic condition called dilated cardiomyopathy also known as an enlarged heart, which results in about 10,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, according to the report.

Brock Marvin has been fitted with a defibrillator, but his heart isn't responding as well as doctors would like and he is still suffering from an irregular heartbeat. His family is seeking a more permanent cure, which would involve stem cell regeneration, Walter Marvin told The Press Republican.

The procedure would involve taking stem cells from elsewhere in Brock Marvin's body and transplanting them into the heart, where the hope is that they will regenerate and strengthen Marvin's heart tissue. The procedure is being done in several hospitals across the country and there are federally approved test programs on stem cell treatment at 20 U.S. research hospitals.

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