Care close to home helps heal local 3-year-old

(L-R): King, Dr. Brian Kogon | Photo: UMMC

Anna and Josh King thought something might be wrong with their son, Byars.

Posted: Jun 27, 2018 10:07 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (Press Release) – Anna and Josh King thought something might be wrong with their son, Byars. 

The 3-year-old was active, but after playing hard, the Aliceville, Alabama couple noticed Byars’ heartbeat. “It was beating so hard,” she said, “like it wanted to beat out of his chest.” 

The Kings were right. After a referral to the Children’s of Mississippi specialty clinic in Tupelo, Byars was diagnosed as having an atrial septal defect. The hole between the upper two chambers of his growing heart required a surgical repair. 

Thanks to minimally invasive surgical techniques, Byars’ stay at Batson Children’s Hospital at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson was less than five days, and his incision was small and under his right arm. 

“He was discharged from the hospital on a Monday,” Anna King said, “and by Tuesday, Byars was running around, and I was trying to slow him down.” 
 
Children’s of Mississippi is an umbrella organization that includes Batson, the state’s only children’s hospital, and all UMMC pediatric care across the state. 

The Kings’ journey began with small changes in their little boy’s habits that grew more noticeable. 

Byars’ appetite started dwindling, and after he started playing tee-ball, they saw more symptoms, she said. “He would get so short of breath. We knew we needed to see a specialist.” 

The curly-haired little boy saw UMMC pediatric cardiologist Dr. Frank Osei in Tupelo, less than two and a half hours from the King family’s home. 

“Byars was referred to me after his primary care provider heard a heart murmur,” said Osei. “The whole team, here at the Tupelo clinic and in Jackson at the Medical Center, looked at the case and decided that a surgical repair would be beneficial.” 

Osei said the collaboration between Batson Children’s Hospital and the Tupelo clinic allowed for Byars’ surgery to be scheduled less than a month from when he was diagnosed. The minimally invasive procedure had Byars in and out of the hospital within days, and the family had just one return trip to Jackson for Dr. Brian Kogon, chief of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery, to check Byars’ incision’s healing a week after surgery.  

“Before the Tupelo clinic opened, patients in the north Mississippi region had to travel for care,” said Osei. “Now, they can get the combined care of our specialty clinic in Tupelo and the state’s only children’s hospital at a clinic that is closer to home.” 

Technology allows UMMC cardiologists in Jackson to access results from tests performed at the Tupelo clinic and at Children’s of Mississippi specialty clinics around the state, and doctors there and in Jackson often hold Skype conferences to discuss patient care. 

An atrial septal defect is an opening between the heart’s two upper chambers, the right atrium and left atrium. This allows deoxygenated blood returning to the heart to mix with oxygenated blood from the lungs. This can increase the amount of blood that flows through the lungs and, over time, can damage the blood vessels in the lungs. Children born with this condition are often short of breath and do not get the oxygen circulation their bodies need. 

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every 770 babies is born with an atrial septal defect. About one out of every 100 babies is born with a congenital heart defect. 

The defect is one of several that the Children’s Heart Center at Batson Children’s Hospital can repair using minimally invasive techniques, Kogon said. 

“Since 2015, the Children’s Heart Center has offered minimally invasive heart surgeries for children, and the number of surgeries has grown,” he said. “We’ve performed more than 50 such procedures since then.” 

The Children’s Heart Center uses minimally invasive surgeries to correct ASD as well as ventricular septal and atrioventricular canal defects.  

“We had heard about Dr. Kogon, word of mouth, and were told he’s the best,” King said. “We love him and Dr. Osei.” 

Traditional heart surgeries involve a chest incision large enough to access internal organs. By using smaller incisions under the arm, surgeons can offer patients benefits including less scarring, fewer complications, less chance of infection, shorter hospital stays and a faster recovery. 

A week after Byars returned home from surgery, the Kings were back for a follow-up visit with Kogon. 

“He’s looking great,” Kogon said after Byars shared some of his “Jurassic World” stickers with him. 

After a check-up at the Eli Manning Children’s Clinics inside Batson Children’s Hospital, Byars and his mom were heading home. From now on, Byars will receive follow-up care from Osei at the Tupelo Clinic. 

“I can’t believe this level of care is available this close to home and that Byars recovered so quickly,” King said as the preschooler ran ahead toward the hospital doors. “Just look at him!” 

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15229

Reported Deaths: 723
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds99925
Lauderdale73561
Madison72023
Scott65012
Neshoba63038
Jones59825
Forrest55338
DeSoto5337
Rankin4217
Leake42112
Holmes39728
Copiah3104
Jackson30513
Attala29216
Yazoo2734
Newton2714
Leflore25831
Harrison2577
Lincoln25628
Monroe25525
Lamar2355
Oktibbeha23512
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Pike20211
Adams19615
Noxubee1856
Wayne1771
Warren1719
Washington1687
Covington1652
Bolivar16011
Jasper1574
Smith15011
Lee1496
Kemper14411
Clarke14318
Chickasaw13312
Lafayette1314
Coahoma1214
Carroll11711
Marion1159
Clay1124
Winston1121
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Yalobusha905
Hancock9011
Tate891
Grenada893
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Union835
Marshall833
Montgomery831
Sunflower813
Jefferson Davis772
Tippah7311
Panola703
Webster691
Calhoun644
Humphreys607
Amite601
Walthall550
Tunica543
Prentiss523
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Tishomingo320
Pontotoc323
Stone300
Franklin282
Tallahatchie271
Quitman260
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene121
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
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Macon754
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Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
Unassigned00
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