Baby boy with five heart defects gets a valve from a COW in a mammoth six-hour operation to save his life
- Bradley Harrison, 10 months old, suffers from a complex set of five heart defects
- They stop sufficient blood flow to his body and turned him blue when he cried
- Doctors said Bradley’s missing valve could be fitted with one from a calf
- During the operation to fit the valve, his heart was stopped for six hours
- He is believed to be the youngest NHS patient to have the valve from a cow
A baby boy has been fitted with a heart valve taken from a cow in a mammoth six-hour operation to save his life. Ten-month-old Bradley Harrison was born with a complex set of five heart defects which restrict blood flow through his body. Born with a deformed pulmonary valve, he underwent grueling surgery at just nine days old to give him one made of plastic.
But it failed after just four months, which doctors spotted when his mother rushed him to the hospital when he turned blue while crying. Bradley needed another valve to keep him alive and doctors suggested he got one from a cow – a thought that initially ‘sickened’ his mother, Amber, 24. Bradley’s heart was stopped for six hours while a machine took over its role, allowing doctors to operate. Bradley, five months old at the time of the surgery in July 2019, is now ‘doing well’. He spent Christmas and New Year at home.
Miss Griffiths, who is engaged to Ryan Harrison, 24, said: ‘At first I felt sick hearing that Bradley was going to have part of an animal put in him.
‘But his chances of survival with the calf valve were high and it ended up saving his life. We are all over the moon that he’s now doing so well.’
Bradley suffers from five heart defects – Tetralogy of Fallot, which is a combination of four heart defects, and pulmonary atresia. It was during his 20-week scan that doctors saw he had pulmonary atresia – when the pulmonary valve, which regulates blood flow from the right ventricle to the lungs, does not form properly. Miss Griffiths and Mr. Harrison, of South Shields, were advised to abort Bradley, their third baby, in June 2018.