ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A local pediatric cardiac specialist says he has treated a moderate number of babies with the same heart condition as comedian Jimmy Kimmel’s newborn son.
Billy Kimmel was born with pulmonary atresia, a birth defect of the pulmonary valve — a hole in the wall separating the right and left sides of the heart and a blocked pulmonary valve.
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Dr. Andrew Fiore, a SLU Care pediatric cardio thoracic surgeon at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, says they see newborns with this and similar conditions “at least once a month.”
“In the scheme of things it’s rare, but in a referral children’s hospital, it’s a common variant of tetralogy, which we see,” he says.
Fiore says in many cases, the prognosis for these babies is good once they receive the initial surgery to open the puulmopnar valve, and a subsequent surgery within six months to close the hole and enlarge the area of the blocked valve or in some cases, if necessary, insert a prostheitc pulmonary valve.