Stories

Graham Baakko

Critical Aortic Stenosis resulting in a Heart Transplant, New Heart had Coarctation of Aorta and ASD repaired. Nissen Fundoplication, G Tube.

Graham is our second of three children. He was born on March 8, 2003 with a couple major heart defects that went undetected throughout the pregnancy. He was born with critical aortic stenosis. He was air lifted to the larger Children’s Hospital just hours after birth. After speaking with the surgeons, it was decided a heart transplant was his only viable option; there were no other surgical options at the time.

On April 18, 2003 Graham received the gift of life and had a heart transplant at 6 weeks old. The recovery was long and Graham remained in the hospital for 10 weeks after the transplant. His donor heart has an ASD that was repaired and a week after his transplant a coarctation of his aorta was found. It was ballooned temporarily until he was stronger for the surgical repair.

Unrelated to his heart, he was diagnosed with Sagittal Craniosynostosis, a premature closure of one of the skull sutures. During September 2004 he had a cranial vault repair surgery to reshape his skull and make room for his brain to grow and expand.

Graham has had feeding issues since he was a baby. He was 100% G-tube fed until he turned 4 years old. He had gone through years of speech and occupational therapy to achieve being an oral eater.

We have been home on oxygen, IV medications and IV nutrition, with PICC and broviac lines. It has been a long road but if you saw Graham on the street you would never know that he has been through 13 surgeries. He is such an amazing little boy who loves playing with his brother and sister. Graham takes anti-rejection medications everyday. But to him, all of this is normal, and he simply takes it all in stride. He is a true miracle.

Graham is the son of Angela & Tim Baakko. The family resides in Belmont, NC. You may contact the family for more info or with questions at baakkos@bellsouth.net.