Cole Wood, heart condition

Cole Wood Arkansas Childrens Hospital

Brookland, 21 years old

Cole Wood had just returned from a study abroad trip to New Zealand when he started having chest pain.

Then a 19-year-old University of Arkansas student, Cole was diagnosed with myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle. Doctors also found he had a 3-centimeter – or more than 1-inch – hole in his heart. 

“I cannot tell you the sadness that runs through a Momma and Daddy’s veins from the fear of the unknown,” his mother, Laura, says. “It was pretty horrible.”

Doctors at ACH decided Cole would need open heart surgery after he healed from myocarditis to fix the hole in his heart. Cole’s heart was already enlarged and working too hard to keep up with his oxygen demands. 

His open heart surgery was on Dec. 20, 2011. He did so well he has able to go home before Christmas. He was playing the guitar in one week and returned to classes at the U of A in four weeks. By six weeks, he was running.

Now 21, Cole will graduate from the U of A in the spring and has hopes of being admitted to medical school at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. 

“ACH has always had a very special place in my heart, from the day that I walked in the door as a child life worker,” says Laura, who once worked at ACH. “Now, I have been on both sides and feel so blessed to be one of the lucky ones who got to keep my baby.”

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