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CHOC DOCTORS REPORT SUCCESSFUL OUTCOME ON SMALLEST BABY TO UNDERGO OPEN HEART SURGERY IN ORANGE COUNTY
July 21, 2000

A premature infant who is reportedly the smallest baby to receive open-heart surgery in Orange County is being transferred today to Riverside County Regional Medical Center from Children's Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) in good condition. Born 2 months early, Sergio Uribe suffered from a rare congenital heart defect called Hemitruncus, a complex malformation where a pulmonary artery arises from the aorta. Richard Gates, M.D., medical director of The CHOC Heart Institute, who performed the surgery on June 28th, said the tiny infant, who weighed only 3 pounds, 10 ounces at birth, would have died without the cardio-pulmonary bypass surgery.

The baby's mother, Maria Uribe, gave birth to Sergio during an emergency cesarean section on June 11, 2000. Soon after the birth, Sergio demonstrated respiratory distress, so doctors intubated him and put him on a breathing machine.

On June 22, Sergio was then transported to CHOC at 11 days old for a special test called an echocardiogram, which allows the doctor to screen for cardiovascular disease by taking a closer look inside the heart to determine if it is structurally normal. Michael Robolledo, M.D., a pediatric cardiologist at CHOC, who has special training in this procedure, performed the test and diagnosed Sergio's condition. Dr. Richard Gates recalled that the team of CHOC cardiologists knew that even though Sergio weighed less than 4 pounds, they had to perform the life saving operation as soon as possible.

"We knew it would be extremely difficult, but we were ready and felt confident that we could get the job done," said Dr. Gates.

Sergio will be transported back to his local hospital where he'll stay until he gains more weight. The baby currently weighs about 4 pounds, 6 ounces. Meantime, Maria Uribe said although she was scared when told their son needed open heart surgery, she now feels good about the situation.

"When I was pregnant, I did not know that my baby had a problem," said Uribe. "I am very thankful to the doctors and nurses at CHOC for curing him."

The CHOC Heart Institute specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of pediatric cardiac patients from prenatal to 17 years. Offering the latest in monitoring, telemetry and life-support systems, the Institute performs more than 250 cardiac procedures annually and is the only facility in Orange County to perform pediatric open-heart surgery and therapeutic catherization procedures. For more information on The CHOC Heart Institute, please call (800) 329-2900 or visit our website at www.CHOC. org.

About CHOC Children's: Named one of the best children’s hospitals by U.S. News & World Report (2013-2014) and a 2013 Leapfrog Top Hospital, CHOC Children's is exclusively committed to the health and well-being of children through clinical expertise, advocacy, outreach and research that brings advanced treatment to pediatric patients. Affiliated with the University of California, Irvine, CHOC’s regional healthcare network includes two state-of-the-art hospitals in Orange and Mission Viejo, several primary and specialty care clinics, a pediatric residency program, and four centers of excellence - The CHOC Children’s Heart, Neuroscience, Orthopaedic and Hyundai Cancer Institutes.

CHOC earned the Gold Level CAPE Award from the California Council of Excellence, the only children’s hospital in California to ever earn this distinction, and was awarded Magnet designation, the highest honor bestowed to hospitals for nursing excellence.  Recognized for extraordinary commitment to high-quality critical care standards, CHOC’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is the first in the United States to earn the Pediatric Beacon Award for Critical Care Excellence.

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Media Contact:
Denise Almazan, Director of Public Relations
phone: (714) 509-8680
email: pr@chocchildrens.org

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