“On March 23, 2013 we had our little boy, Mr. Eli Janke. He was so gorgeous and perfect. During labour at Sunnybrook when they attached the heart monitor on my stomach they noticed that Eli’s heart was 220bm. The nurses called the doctor on call and initially they could not tell me what was wrong,” says Eli’s mom. “My delivery was normal, but something didn’t feel right. Ultimately they called the cardiac clinic at the Hospital for Sick Children and discovered Eli had supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), a cardiac condition characterized by a racing heartbeat caused by electrical misfiring in the heart.” The moment Eli was born he was immediately on medicine to halt the arrhythmia. Eli became a patient of the Cardiac Clinic at SickKids and Dr. Lynne Nield became Eli’s pediatric cardiologist. She worked to find the right combination of medication to keep Eli’s SVT in check. It took two weeks in the Cardiac Clinic, with a short stint at Sunnybrook’s Intensive Care Unit, before Eli could return home. He needed to go 24 hours without an episode to be released. “We had four or five false starts, but as we got near discharge, it would always start up again. It took the right combination of three medicinal cocktails in the right doses to keep Eli’s arrhythmias at bay. He had a very persistent type and needed a combination of medications.”
“At SickKids, we definitely felt like we were a part of Eli’s care team. Being included in the daily rounds was a strong point. There were all these brilliant people in the room, but they were very humble. They didn’t make you feel like you were at a lower level if you didn’t understand something. They made sure we were there when they discussed that day’s care plan. They asked us for our input and respected our knowledge.”
About 75 percent of babies who have SVT will outgrow it by the time they are 1 to 2 years old. In many children, as the heart grows, the accessory electrical pathway is pulled apart. If Eli is among the other 25 percent, the next step, when he is much older, would be a catheter ablation procedure to permanently eliminate SVT.
“We would only trust SickKids, if Eli needs an ablation,” says Eli’s mom.
Eli has not been hospitalized since he was four weeks old. He now takes one medication twice a day and is as busy as any 2-year-old — climbing on anything and everything. Every three to six months, he sees Dr. Nield and wears a Holter monitor for 24 hours, which records his heart rate to make sure he isn’t going into arrhythmia. As Eli continues to grow, Dr. Nield and the Cardiac Clinic at SickKids will be there to provide the expert cardiac care he needs.
“I support Hope for Hearts because children like Eli deserve the best and most innovative care. I hope you will chose to do the same.”