Daniel P Local 9-Yr-Old Enjoying Active Life after 3rd Open-Heart Surgery

“We’ve had the best heart surgeons. It’s been great all around -- a true blessing.”

Daniel Perry of Fanwood was born with serious heart defects. But today, you wouldn’t be able to tell. Since recovering last summer from his third open-heart surgery at the Children’s Heart Center at Children’s Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, the 9-year-old has an energetic life -- running, swimming and playing basketball, among other activities.

“Daniel is much, much better now,” says his father, Damon. “He doesn’t get winded like he did before.”

Early Intervention

Doctors diagnosed Daniel’s heart problems soon after he was born. Like many children with congenital heart disease (heart defects present from birth), he would need a series of surgeries as he grew and developed.

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBIMC) doctors performed Daniel’s first surgery when he was just a week old.

At 14 months, Daniel had his second operation at the renowned hospital. And a third surgery was planned for age 10 or 11 – when doctors expected his heart valves would need further repair.

But by the time Daniel turned 9, his pulmonary valve was leaking badly, making him tired and short of breath. Sometime he would even turn blue from a lack of oxygen in his blood.

So NBIMC doctors replaced his damaged pulmonary valve with an artificial valve. During the same operation, they improved the function of his tricuspid valve – which will help Daniel’s heart grow normally. (Each heart valve controls blood flow to and from different parts of the heart.)

Expert Team

“The tricuspid valve was very narrow and poorly functioning,” says Daniel’s surgeon, Sunil Malhotra, MD, director of pediatric and adult congenital cardiac surgery at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey at NBIMC.

“We were able to fix the valve, which will enable his right ventricle (pumping chamber) to receive more blood, so it can become bigger and stronger as Daniel grows,” notes Dr. Malhotra. “This will give Daniel the best chance for a normal, active life.”

Rajiv Verma, MD, division director for pediatric cardiology at the Children’s Hospital of New Jersey, has overseen Daniel’s care from the beginning. The only pediatric interventional cardiologist in the state, Dr. Verma helped perform the boy’s first two surgeries, and he sees Daniel annually to make sure he stays healthy.

(Interventional cardiologists are sub-specialists who use catheters -- thin, flexible tubes -- to perform delicate heart procedures, often through small openings in the skin rather than traditional open surgery.)

Promising Outlook

Like many patients with his condition, Daniel could need another valve replacement someday. But he should be healthy enough for a minimally invasive procedure, rather than open-heart surgery, explains Dr. Malhotra.

“Daniel is thriving,” says the physician. “He’s well-developed and active. Most people would never know he’s a heart patient.”

Daniel’s family credits the NBI team for their child’s bright future.

“We have received some of the best care from NBI from day one,” says Damon. “We’ve had the best heart surgeons. It’s been great all around -- a true blessing.”

New Help for New Jersey Children Living with Congenital Heart Disease

Generous donations to Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey benefit patients like Daniel who rely on us for their health care needs, no matter how complex.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation today. Your donation of any amount will mean so much to our youngest patients.