To watch Jackson Carey playing now, you would never guess he was among the youngest patients in the United States to undergo a lifesaving heart procedure just a few months ago. Jackson was born in 2008 with serious health concerns, including heart issues. Doctors diagnosed him with pulmonary atresia, a condition in which his pulmonary valve—which keeps blood from flowing back into the heart from the lungs—didn’t develop correctly. Jackson had his first surgery at five months, and many more since then.
In November 2013, Pediatric Cardiologist Robert Gray, MD, decided Jackson was in need of a new pulmonary valve and a candidate for the Melody valve procedure, which allows a new valve to be implanted through a vein in the patient’s leg, without the need for open heart surgery. This implant is not typically done in young children due to technical constraints related to the rather large catheters involved. But thanks to the skill and knowledge of Dr. Gray and other experts at Intermountain’s Primary Children’s Hospital, Jackson’s implant surgery went off without a hitch.
Now back at home in Idaho Falls, Jackson is doing all the things other healthy five-year-olds do. His older brother, Brian, is happy to have him back. So are his parents. In the words of his mother, Sarah, “He brings life to our home, especially now that he’s feeling so much healthier than he ever has.”