Born with a Broken Heart

Today,  the beat of Hayes Yepes’s tiny heart sounds like music to his parents’ ears.  But that was not always the case. Parents Jeremy Yepes and Kortney Gant admittedly have experienced many anxiety-filled days since their son Hayes was born on Dec. 4, 2017.

The couple learned something was wrong with their newborn shortly after birth. Hayes was diagnosed with supravalvular aortic stenosis (SVAS), a heart defect characterized by a narrowing of the aorta valve and blood vessel, which was restricting blood flow to his body.

“Hearing that our son didn’t have enough blood and oxygen flowing to the rest of his body was one of the most frightening moments of my life,” Yepes said.

A few days after being born, Hayes was transferred from a Clear Lake hospital to Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. Dr. Jorge Salazar, a pediatric heart surgeon and co-director affiliated with the Children’s Heart Center at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, along with Dr. Robert Hanfland, a pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon affiliated with the Children’s Heart Center at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, assessed and determined Hayes needed to undergo heart surgery to repair the narrowing of the aorta near the aortic valve as well as to repair a coarctation of the aorta, a narrowed part of the aorta that restricted blood flow to the body. Dr. Salazar completed Hayes’s first surgery on Dec. 8, 2017. The day after Christmas, Dr. Hanfland completed the second procedure.

“We keep a close eye on the patient following these procedures because there are additional issues that can unexpectedly arise,” said Dr. Salazar. “Finding these issues early can allow us to repair them through less invasive techniques.”

Following the success of the procedures, Hayes faced another diagnosis – Williams syndrome. The genetic condition is associated with heart defects such as SVAS, and is characterized by developmental delays, learning problems, abnormalities of connective tissue and other medical issues.

Hayes was discharged from the hospital just a few days into 2018. “It was amazing having a team of doctors that were able to walk us through the entire process,” Yepes said. “The team at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital made sure that we were well-educated about the care Hayes was receiving.”

Now that Hayes is home, 10-year-old Kinslee has already taken on big sister duties. She’s helping to change diapers and watching over her new baby brother. Kinslee has also established a golden rule for Hayes when he gets older – “Don’t touch my stuff.”

Since Hayes’s arrival home, the whole family has already made plenty of memories at family get-togethers where they’ve taken numerous photos.

Click here to read more about Hayes and the care he received at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.

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Ali Vise