February 20th 2017
JOEL Ucko was diagnosed with a rare heart condition purely by chance
He went to his GP aged 10 with a cold and ear ache that wouldn’t clear, and a routine check of his chest revealed he had a major heart murmur.
After being referred to Professor John Deanfield, a Paediatric Cardiologist at The Harley Street Clinic, he was diagnosed a rare congenital heart condition called subaortic stenosis, a narrowing between the left ventricle (the main pumping chamber of the heart) and the aorta (which takes blood away from the heart), which means the heart has to work harder to pump blood around the body.
If left untreated, it can lead to heart arrhythmias, heart failure, collapse and even death.
In 2014, an MRI scan revealed significant worsening in the function of Joel’s heart and the only option was open-heart surgery to remove the thickening muscle tissue.
‘Joel became very stressed and somewhat frightened about the prospect of surgery,’ says his mother Rachel, from Edgware, North London.
Knowing that Joel was an anxious patient, staff went out of their way to help the family.
The Clinic has a special team to treat adolescents, who understand the specific needs of children like Joel who was 14 at the time of the operation.
A psychologist saw Joel before surgery to help him prepare, and Rachel and her husband were shown around the intensive care unit where Joel would go after surgery and were told what to expect. ‘It was totally invaluable,’ she says.
Joel made a good recovery from the four-hour operation and returned to school a month later.
‘The hospital couldn’t have prepared him better. Once it was over, he just got on with it,’ says Rachel.
Joel must have annual checks for the rest of his life and there is a very small chance the condition will recur.
‘Joel is much more relaxed about his health now. In fact, he has used his experience to help someone else at his school who needed a major operation,’ says Rachel.
‘He feels a tremendous sense of achievement. This is in no small part down to the team who looked after us all, both physically and emotionally.’
Other Case Studies
February 20th 2017
Teenager beats cancer twice thanks to pioneering care at The Harley Street Clinic
When Kamal Khalifa developed a swollen knee, initially his parents were not concerned. As the 15-year-old was accident prone, they put the discomfort down to growing pains. However, an X-ray revealed a huge osteosarcoma tumour on his right knee, a rare type of cancer. His father Nageeb who was working for the United Nations at […]