Heart Center Team Helps Luke

February 24, 2015

Four days after Luke Moscardini was born in July of 2005, he began to appear ill and was suffering a low temperature. His parents, Pattie and Frank, took him to the emergency room at Central DuPage Hospital (CDH), a partner hospital of Lurie Children’s. The staff at CDH recommended he be transported to Lurie Children’s, where he was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), a type of congenital heart disease in which the left side of the heart, including the aorta, aortic valve, left ventricle and mitral valve, is underdeveloped and does not function normally. In the typical heart, each ventricle does a separate job; the right ventricle pumps blood to the lungs and the left ventricle pumps blood to the body. In a single ventricle heart, there is only one ventricle large enough to pump blood.

Luke’s care team of cardiologists, cardiovascular-thoracic surgeons and neonatologists collaborated to create a treatment plan that included three staged surgeries to address his HLHS. Soon after birth, Luke underwent his first open-heart surgery, the Norwood procedure. It was performed by our cardiovascular-thoracic surgeons, led by Carl Backer, MD, to allow the right ventricle to pump blood to both the lungs and the body. His Heart Center care team continued to monitor his recovery and development as they anticipated his next procedure, the bi-directional Glenn procedure.

In January of 2006, Luke was ready for his next surgery. During the bi-directional Glenn procedure, cardiovascular-thoracic surgeons removed the shunt from the pulmonary artery to the aorta and then connected the superior vena cava to the pulmonary artery. This procedure allows the blood from the upper body to reach the lungs and collect oxygen before it is passed through the body. It also helps decrease the amount of work that Luke’s single functioning ventricle is asked to perform.

The final surgery to address Luke’s HLHS was planned for May of 2009 when he was almost four years old. The Fontan procedure configures the circulation to allow all of the blood from the body to flow to the lungs and pick up oxygen. The procedure allows the right ventricle to pump oxygenated blood to the body and prevents red and blue blood from mixing in the heart. The surgery went well and Luke began his recovery.

About six months after his Fontan procedure, Luke encountered a setback. His heart function suddenly worsened, potentially caused by a virus, and he was transported to Lurie Children’s for treatment by the Heart Failure team. The team was able to stabilize him and continued to provide treatment in the months after. They continuously tracked his heart, liver and kidney functions as they improved.

These days, Luke continues to work with his cardiologist, Jeffrey Gossett, MD, to monitor his development and heart function with bi-annual check-ups. As a result of the Heart Center’s collaborative effort over the past nine years, he is doing well and has grown into an energetic child who plays baseball and enjoys time with his three brothers.