Like quite a few kids, 9-year-old Noah needed heart surgery when he was a baby. There are many kinds of heart problems; the one Noah had is called truncus arteriosus. That means his heart wasn't set up right to do its job — to pump blood around the body and make sure that oxygen-rich blood gets to every single cell.
After two surgeries when he was little, Noah's heart is working great. It's possible he might need another surgery when he's older, but he can do normal kid stuff with no problems. He likes to rock climb, ride roller coasters, and go on school field trips.
We talked to him about what it's like to have a heart problem.
When did you learn that you had a heart problem as a baby?
I've known for as long as I can remember.
How old were you when you had the surgery to repair your heart?
I was 37 hours old for my first heart surgery. I had another one when I was a couple months old.
Do you have a scar and has anyone ever asked about the surgery you had?
Yes, I have a scar down the middle of my chest. I just say I had surgery on my heart, but since it was so long ago, it's not really noticeable.
What do you want other kids and people in general to know about heart problems?
It's not too bad, and you can still do a lot of cool stuff.
What kind of special checkups do you get?
I see a cardiologist every year or so. Sometimes they take pictures of my heart [echocardiograms and EKGs] and he asks questions and listens to my heart.
Do you have any restrictions or limits on what you can do?
I take antibiotics before I go to the dentist. [This is to prevent a possible infection that could affect his heart.] My mom checks with the doctors to make sure it's OK that I go on fast roller coasters.
What would you say to another kid who is going through heart problems?
I would say don't be upset. You can still do cool stuff.
What grade are you in?
What do you like about school?
I like the field trips.
What do you dislike about school?
Nothing, I like school.
What's your favorite food?
Pizza is my favorite food.
What's your room like?
I have a world map, a "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" movie poster, and lots of Lego models.
What is your favorite sport or activity to do?
I like rock climbing and roller coasters. My favorite roller coaster was going upside down on the Aerosmith Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Disney World.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
© 1995-2022 KidsHealth® All rights reserved. Images provided by iStock, Getty Images, Corbis, Veer, Science Photo Library, Science Source Images, Shutterstock, and Clipart.com