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Baby recovers from SVT scare

POSTED: Thursday, July 22, 2010 - 4:00pm

UPDATED: Thursday, July 22, 2010 - 4:28pm

It is the most common heart rhythm condition in children, and normally children outgrow it. But one Baton Rouge family had a serious scare with SVT.

When Rebecca and Kris Klar welcomed their first child into the world, they never imagined they might have to say goodbye just weeks later. But with strong faith, this family was able to pull through that tough time in what their doctors call, a medical miracle.

Barrett's mother, Rebecca Klar says, "I know he's a miracle. He's our miracle baby, the best thing that's happened to both of us and we couldn’t love him more."

At just two weeks old, he had trouble feeding and was spitting up.

"I thought it was going to be reflux or some sort of digestion problem and then it kind of spiraled out of control, " said Klar.

 That spiral landed the Klars here, at Our Lady of the Lake's Pediatric emergency room, in critical condition. Barrett didn’t have heart burn, he was in heart failure. He was rushed to intensive care

Dr. Les Hixson and his partners with Pediactric Cardiology Associates cared for Barrett in those critical moments.

Dr. Hixson remembers how sick little Barrett was, "at this point in time when he presented he was in significant heart failure. His heart muscle was so weak."

Doctors diagnosed Barrett with SVT, or supraventricular tachycardia. A condition that caused Barrett's heart to beat twice as fast as it should.

Dr. Hixson explains that "in Barrett’s case it as like he was constantly exercising or running a race. His heart never had a chance to slow down or rest and therefore it became very weak."

Barrett's tiny heart was working so hard, it became enlarged and stopped beating, a condition called Cardiomyopathy. Barrett was put on a ventilator while doctors broke the news to Rebecca and Kris.

Dr. Hixson says, "talking to new parents and telling them that their child may not make it is very very difficult." The only thing more difficult is hearing those words. Rebecca Klar says, "you just can't imagine, even though it was happening to me at the time I really just couldn’t imagine what it would be like if we didn’t get to bring him back home to this nursery and see him sleep in his crib and wear the little clothes in the closet... It’s just, I still can't imagine."

A short time later, Barrett's heart started to heal. For the first time in his short life, it beat in a normal rhythm.

The Klar's say the relied on faith to give them hope, "We prayed," said Rebecca, "we didn't leave Barrett's side."

Prayers answered. Dr Hixon says, "In that instance you've got to think that there's something else more at play than just what we can do as scientists and as doctors."

That something they call, a miracle.

"I personally believe that there's always a greater force at work in all of our lives," said Dr. Hixon, "and I’m sure that came into place as well in Barrett's case."

Barrett's father, Kris says "absolutely Barrett's a miracle."

Just days later, the Klars were out of intensive care and back to the life they almost lost.

"It was a scary ride home but it was also incredible because he was with us," said Kris.

Rebecca Klar says their life now is almost normal. "It’s a new normal, with all the medications and the stethoscopes and the heart monitors," said Klar, "but it's normal for us and he's a happy baby."

Doctors aren't really sure what causes SVT, but say most kids eventually grow out of it. I talked to the Klar's today and they say Barrett is doing great. In fact, he just cut his first tooth.