MEET 2018 HONORARY RACER: CONRAD COMPTON!
When Conrad was 3 he went urgent care, and after he was examined, his parents were told he had a heart murmur. They were not expecting that. They were referred back to their pediatrician who explained the murmur and that it is not uncommon for kids to be born with a hole in the heart and it should close up on its own. Conrad’s parents were told to keep an eye on it and his heart would be monitored during future visits. On those future visits, the pediatrician couldn’t hear the murmur anymore and assumed the hole had closed…it hadn’t.
Conrad has always been an active kid when he participated in sports like soccer, baseball, basketball, swimming, snowboarding, jiu-jitsu, etc… He never mentioned any issue with his heart but occasionally he would have asthmatic symptoms. At times the flare-ups were severe and Conrad needed heavy doses of oral steroids, steroid inhalers, and had to stop all his activities. Conrad’s lips also turned bluish purple every time he was cold or overexerted himself. He also struggled to gain weight and his pediatrician explained blue lips were normal, and since his weight wasn’t falling off the chart, that was normal too.
Fast forward 6 years to October 18, 2017, when Conrad started complaining his heart was having a jolting sensation and he was feeling ill, this was not normal and he was taken to ER. At the ER he had an abnormal EKG that showed a Bundle Branch Block. Soon after the ER visit, Conrad had additional testing that (X-ray, EKG, heart monitor, and echocardiogram). After testing they found a large hole in his heart +/- 20mm (little over ¾ of an inch) which he was born with. He was then diagnosed with an Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) along with several other secondary issues.
Since diagnosis and meeting 2 surgeons at Rady’s Children’s Hospital, several things about Conrad began to make sense. In short, the doctor(s) determined Conrad’s heart works 2-3 times as hard at rest and 5-7 times harder when active vs. kids with no hole in the heart. Additionally, the blue lip thing was definitely related to the heart condition.
Conrad’s story is being shared in order to raise awareness about Congenital Heart Defects (CHD). 1 in 100 babies are born with a CHD. We are not trying to bash the entire medical field because Conrad’s ¾ inch hole was missed for so long by the same doctor visit after visit when he should have just sent us to a specialist in the first place. Many people can have ASD’s their entire life that go undetected and it isn’t until around their 30’s, 40’s, or 50’s when their symptoms are noticed and end up having irreversible damage, heart failure or sudden death. The right side of Conrad’s heart is enlarged at this point but the specialists are confident it will return to normal size over time once the repair has been made.
This past February was Heart Awareness Month and Conrad had corrective surgery during Congenital Heart Defect (CHD) week Feb. 7th-14th. His parents never thought they would be in a position like this, Conrad has always been such an energetic kid and everything seemed normal on the surface. This is the issue with CHDs, unless they are detected in utero or in the hospital at the time of birth, getting your heart checked by sophisticated medical equipment isn’t part of any protocol growing up for the vast majority of Americans. Getting screened at your request is most likely not covered by your insurance and even if some portion is it can still be expensive.
Conrad’s corrective procedure was successfully completed on Monday 02/12/2018. Everything went to plan with no complications and he has made a full recovery. Come meet Conrad at this years race!