Corbin Alston, heart condition
North Little Rock, 4 years old
When Corbin was born in 2008, his parents had no idea anything was wrong. As the youngest of four siblings, his parents knew Corbin’s birth went as well as the other three.
“When they said they were bringing in his pediatrician, I knew something was not right,” says Kimberli, his mother. “The pediatrician said they detected a heart murmur and Corbin needed to be further evaluated at another hospital. They gave us a choice, but even though I was a medicated mess, I knew I wanted him to go to Arkansas Children's Hospital.”
Once at ACH, Corbin was diagnosed with tetralogy of Fallot, a complex heart condition that caused a large hole between two heart chambers and a narrowed passage for the blood to flow from his heart to his lungs. One chamber had a thickened wall, and his pulmonary valve was not functioning properly.
Doctors informed Kimberli and her husband, John, that Corbin’s condition was treatable and that he would need surgery in the next six months.
“We were sent home with Corbin after four days at ACH,” John says. “We were so glad to have him home and to know that there was a plan for correcting his heart problems.”
But life doesn’t always follow a plan. When Corbin and his parents returned to ACH for a cardiology follow-up a month later, doctors recommended he have surgery as soon as possible, and he underwent surgery two days later.
Because his pulmonary arteries were so small, doctors were unable to repair his heart fully. Four months later, he underwent a second surgery complete the repair.
Now 4, Corbin is very healthy. The youngest of four children, he enjoys playing with his brothers and sister and is starting his second season of soccer. He visits ACH annually for a check-up and eventually will have another surgery to replace his pulmonary valve.
“Knowing that we have to return for future surgeries causes some anxiety, but we know we will receive the best care at Arkansas Children's Hospital,” says Kimberli. “During our time there, staff members – doctors, nurses, the chaplain, housekeepers – were all very supportive, encouraging, friendly and helpful.”
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