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Pediatric Cardiology Patient Caleb Jones

Jones Caleb 177pxAs a former athlete, Roy Jones knew that something had to be wrong with his son Caleb. A solid basketball and football player, Caleb was in terrific shape but had trouble keeping up with other players on the court and seemed winded during games.

“I could just tell that something was not right,” he said. “As a former athlete, I knew he should be able to keep up with his peers and he was struggling to breathe during games.”

Caleb, 15, was sent to Brenner Children’s Hospital, part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, where he was seen by pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Wesley Covitz. Dr. Covitz performed an EKG that indicated there may be a problem with Caleb’s heart. The next step was to perform an echocardiogram of Caleb’s heart and diagnosed him with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is the most common cause of sudden death among healthy athletes.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a genetic condition where the heart muscle has become thick making it difficult for the heart to pump blood.

Symptoms of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy include: passing out during strenuous exercise, shortness of breath, chest pain and a family history.

Many times children who play sports aren’t diagnosed with the condition until they reach an age where they begin to compete at a higher level. 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,” he added. “We are specifically trained in both cardiology and pediatrics to evaluate heart problems and treat them aggressively.”

Doctors at Wake Forest Baptist implanted a defibrillator in Caleb’s chest as a backup in case his heart fails. He will be monitored by pediatric cardiologists every six months to ensure that his heart continues to function properly. 

Caleb was fortunate his parents recognized the signs/symptoms and got him to a pediatric specialist immediately. Although Caleb can’t play competitive sports now and must take heart medications to slow his heart rate, he isn’t letting his diagnosis define him. A sophomore at Northwest High School, Caleb is using his voice to inspire others and still enjoys recreational sports.

“God has special plans for Caleb,” Roy said. 

 

 


Editor note:

Caleb was diagnosed in January 2010. He has no family history of heart problems.