August 14, 2013
From the Whittier Daily News
Published August 14, 2013
By Sandra Molina, Whittier Daily News
WHITTIER - After spending a lot of last school year in the nurse’s office or worrying about when her heartbeat would dangerously speed up, Jaden Rascon started her first day of the 2013-14 school year Wednesday like any other student.
She had a life-altering procedure on her heart in July to make her fourth-grade year a happy and healthy one.
“Today’s a special day,” said mom Vera Rascon, as she accompanied Jaden, 9, and her other daughters, Maya, 8, and Emma, 4, to their classes at Orchard Dale Elementary School. “She’s doing good, and ready for a really good year.”
“I’m excited, and I’m going to have fun at school,” Jaden said. “I want to make new friends.”
There will be no more headaches, sitting in the nurse’s office instead of playing with classmates on the playground, and just not feeling well for the quiet girl with wavy dark brown hair and glasses.
This is all thanks to an innovative procedure performed by Dr. Anjan Batra at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC).
“She’s a whole different kid now,” Vera Rascon said.
Jaden underwent an electrophysiology procedure to cure her arrhythmia. The procedure was short, non-invasive and, even better, required no radiation.
This landmark achievement signals a new direction in a field that has already dramatically changed cardiology. Without radiation, the electrophysiology procedure is an even safer and less invasive cure for a common ailment that’s presented in three children daily at CHOC, hospital officials said.
Batra, who is the director of electrophysiology at the CHOC Children’s Heart Institute, has mastered this new technique partly due to a three-dimensional cardio mapping system that visualizes a beating heart by using magnetic sources as reference points.
The result is a moving map of the patient’s heart that shows its anatomy as well as the electrical current through the chamber.
With this image, Batra can identify and ablate a patient’s abnormal current flow without using radiation.
“He treated Jaden as if she was his own daughter,” said Jaden’s father, Ruben Rascon.
Although grateful for the positive outcome, the Rascons cannot help but recall the confusion and anxiety they felt last year when their oldest daughter became ill.
“The heart beat was so strong and fast that you could see it beating through her skin,” Vera Rascon explained.
After months of tests, she was diagnosed with a specific type of arrhythmia, and she readied for the surgery.
“For me, the surgery was an eternity,” Ruben Rascon of the three-hour procedure. “It was very nerve-racking, and I was unsure of our decision for her to have the surgery. But, I wanted to give Jaden the best chance at a good life, and that ultimately was to have her operated on.”
Reach the author at Sandra.Molina@sgvn.com