Moments after he was born, Elijah Stapp was crowded by a team of medical professionals listening closely to his heart. “As a mom, I just knew something wasn’t right,” recalled Trish Stapp, wife of Eric Stapp, our Chief Operating Officer.
Her instincts were proven correct as newborn Elijah was first diagnosed by Dr. Carlos Chaban of Hunt Club Pediatrics with an unusual heart murmur. Dr. Chaban ordered an echocardiogram. At Florida Hospital for Children, Dr. Matthew Zussman, an interventional cardiologist, diagnosed Elijah with bicuspid aortic stenosis. Aortic stenosis is a condition where the aortic valve in the heart, which has three moving parts, is unable to open or close completely. In Elijah’s case it was because the aortic valve was bicuspid, meaning two parts of the valve were fused together like webbed feet.Dr. Zussman was able to perform a cardiac catheterization on Elijah when he was just two months old. This procedure calls for the surgeon to go through an artery in the leg to access the aortic valve in the heart. In Elijah’s case, Dr. Zussman used a 3mm balloon (the size of the ball in a ballpoint pen) to separate the two pieces of his aortic valve after it had been carefully positioned. A surgeon from John Hopkins in Tampa assisted in the procedure and there was an entire surgical team present in case anything went wrong.
"A few years ago they didn’t have equipment small enough to do a procedure like this on an infant,” said Eric. “Thank God for the medical team and their continuing efforts to improve techniques and equipment that save lives!”
"It was literally Dr. Zussman’s hand that saved my baby’s life,” says Trish. Now, Elijah’s heart works better than it ever did and the Stapps are overjoyed to have a healthy child once again.
There's still time to sign up with for the Run with the Herd 5k!In honor of Elijah, and the entire Stapp family, the whole Window Interiors team will be participating in Chick-fil-A’s Run with the Herd 5k benefitting Florida Hospital for Children on October 10th.
You can sign up to walk, jog, or run with us at runwiththeherd5k.com.
If you’re physically unable to participate in the race, feel free to join Run with the Herd 5k’s other activities such as; Robinson Fresh’s Kid Zone, face painters, seeing the Orlando Magic and the Florida Hospital FIT team, or enjoy delicious Chick-fil-A Chicken sandwiches!
If you’re unable to make it to the event, consider making a donation instead. All donations go directly to The Florida Hospital Children’s Foundation.