Toddler's life-saving surgery marks medical milestone

By Rachel McNeill - Anchor

HOUSTON - February is American Heart Month, raising awareness for the number one killer: heart disease.

Sometimes those life threatening conditions are something we're born with, as was the case for a Texas toddler.

A big blue lollipop brings a huge smile to 2-year-old Nathan Bryan. Simple pleasures his parents are thankful for just days after their son had open-heart surgery.

Katharine Bryan said, "We feel like he's recovering really well. He's obviously eating and drinking, which is a great thing, but he will be recovering for the next six weeks."

When Nathan was born, Katharine and Beau Bryan of Temple, Texas, had their entire world turned upside down.

She explained, "We went in for his normal two-day checkup after he was born and the nurse heard a murmur."

Nathan had a hole in his heart the size of a dime, one of the most common heart defects.

Dad Beau Bryan said, "When you schedule open-heart surgery for your child, that's a scary time."

The Bryans were referred to Texas Children's Hospital.

Nathan's procedure was the 10,000th for TCH Surgeon-in-Chief Dr. Charles Fraser and the congenital heart team since 1995.

Fraser said, "We've expanded our scope of care enormously since then because we've been able to demonstrate sequentially and methodically that we can do more and more. We can operate on smaller children. We can do more complicated repairs, support the failing circulation with machines. We can support our transplant program to include lungs."

Beau Bryan added, "Wow! They do a lot of these surgeries here, a very high volume, a great success. They have great outcomes. They have a dedicated team, so it made us feel very good about the decision to come here."

Happy as can be playing with bubbles, Nathan's back to being a kid, though wrestling with his big brother might be off limits for a while!

Katharine Bryan said, "We really believe that he's gotten world-class care and we're so grateful that it worked out this way."

To which Nathan added, "Thank you for fixing my heart!"

Nathan is already out of the hospital and back home in Temple.

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