A SCHOOLBOY born with a congenital heart defect is recovering after having a pacemaker fitted to keep his heart beating regularly.
Huzaifah Valli, 9, was diagnosed with the complex condition at just two-days-old.
Doctors carrying out routine tests on the newborn noticed a heart murmur and further tests revealed his heart has been ‘wired back to front’, according to his mum Shamira.
A congenital heart defect affects the structure of the heart and vessels from birth. There are many types of heart defects, most of which either obstruct blood flow or cause blood to flow in an abnormal pattern.
At eight-days-old Huzaifah, from East Park Avenue, Blackburn, underwent his first open heart surgery at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital – the first of a three-stage procedureHe had another operation at 18 months old.
In August last year he had the third and final stage – but during his pre-op appointment, doctors noticed that his heart was skipping a beat. They decided to fit a pacemaker to regulate his heart beat during the nine and a half hour surgery.
His mum Shamira said: “Physically he looks like a normal little boy, but he will never have the energy of a typical nine-year-old.
“Huzaifah had the operation in August and was in hospital for a month. He spent four months off school and has just returned to school full time.
“He is now five months post op and is slowly gaining more energy.
“The condition can affect his breathing because he has lower oxygen levels which make him turn blue.
“For the time being, there are no more operations. If he takes a turn for the worst the next stage will be a heart transplant.
“Every day with him is a blessing. He is a very caring young boy and has such a big personality. We take each day as it comes, but there is always someone worse off.
“His school has been very supportive, and so have all our family and friends.
“Alder Hey have been fantastic. You don’t realise how much a charity does until you are put in a situation where you need their help.”
At Christmas the football-mad youngster met Liverpool Football Club which was a dream come true for the youngster who will never be able to play football, or other contact sports.
Huzaifah, who will be on medication for the rest of his life, is now raising awareness as part of congenital heart awareness week, running 7-14 February.
Children at Feniscowles Primary School, in Blackburn, where Huzaifah attends, are holding a wear red day on Thursday, February 14 to raise money for the ward which treated the pupil at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.
Headteacher Elizabeth Hargreaves said: “The school sees itself as family and one of our family has needed their special care.
“We are holding the special day because of Huzaifah and what he has been through.
“We feel it’s very important to support everyone who cared for him.”