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Pediatric Cardiology Patient CJ Stubbs

CJ Stubbs had been playing sports all his life. He loved football and rarely let anything hold him back. So when he began passing out during football games and after strenuous exercise, his parents knew something was wrong.

“CJ passed out on three different occasions after exercising,” said his mom, Annette. “I took him to our pediatrician who sent us to Brenner Children’s Hospital. I was worried that CJ would pass out after exercising and didn’t seem to have any idea what was happening. I wanted someone to check him out.” 

Dr. Wesley Covitz, a pediatric cardiologist at Brenner Children’s Hospital, used a CT scan to pinpoint CJ’s issue and diagnosed CJ with a heart defect and recommended that he have surgery to correct it.

“The defect was not allowing enough blood to flow to his heart and when he exercised the heart muscle squeezed his coronary artery and caused CJ to pass out,” Dr. Covitz said. “When students pass out after exercising, it always something that needs to be evaluated.”

Other signs of a heart problem include: passing out during strenuous exercise, shortness of breath, chest pain, turning blue and a family history.

Our pediatric experts are trained to diagnosis and treat children with heart problems, Covitz said.

“It’s important that parents seek the care of a pediatric expert when it comes to the care of their child. We are specifically trained in both cardiology and pediatrics to evaluate heart problems and treat them aggressively.”

CJ underwent heart surgery last November and recovered quickly. He can no longer pay competitive sports but stays active by playing with a local recreation league. He takes a baby aspirin daily.

“At first CJ had a hard time adjusting to not doing something that he enjoyed doing,” his mom said. “But I have a very determined young man. He isn’t going to let this hold him back.”

CJ, 15, is a sophomore at High Point Andrews High School has plans to become a dentist. Brenner Children’s Hospital is part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.