The Bunker family was excited to have another baby join their family. But at Angela Bunker’s 20-week prenatal visit, concerns with the baby’s heart rate surfaced. Angela was sent to the Fetal Heart Program at Intermountain’s Primary Children’s Medical Center, where the diagnosis was a heart condition called supraventricular tachycardia (SVT)—a rare but treatable condition that causes rapid heart rates.
Cael Bunker continued to suffer from SVT after he was born. The Bunkers would regulate his heartbeat to make sure it didn’t get too high, but even with constant surveillance Cael’s heart rate would sometimes reach an astonishing 290 beats per minute. When he turned seven, Cael was able to have an operation to repair the abnormality. Performed through a catheter, the procedure can now be done using imaging techniques that require minimal radiation. A device in the catheter allows the cardiologist to precisely map the abnormal pathways in his heart and interrupt the development of the damaging fibers that formed there. Cael was the very first heart patient at Primary Children’s to undergo the procedure using this new kind of imaging.
Cael’s operation was a success, and not just because he received the right treatment. As Angela explained, her son received it from someone who showed he really cared. “The cardiologist really made Cael feel special. He came in to see him as often as he could. He would call at home and email to check on how he was doing after the procedure. He really cared about Cael as a person.”
Today, Cael has recovered and is able to play baseball, basketball, football, swim, wrestle, and bike without Mom monitoring his heart rate. The combination of more effective technology and very personal care has left Cael stronger, healthier, and ready to enjoy whatever life brings.