PCH program helps keep heart disease patients safe

- Keeping infants safe, that is the goal of the champion program at PCH. It's designed to monitor infants who are battling severe types of congenital heart  disease.

It was a day for celebrating milestones at a graduation party. "It's a big accomplishment, he's had three open heart surgeries and yeah," said Megan Eggleston.

25 young patients graduated from "Champion" which stands for cardiac high-acuity monitoring program.

"Zane had a hole in between his left and right ventricles, his main arteries were transpositions," said Eggleston.

The program helps parents watch for warning signs and keep a close eye out for any complications for young patients with severe congenital heart disease.

"We're just proud that he got to this point in his life, he just turned a year a few weeks ago, and it's great that we got to this point," she said.

The youngsters are all under the age of two. They're monitored during their treatment while they're fragile.

"We train the parents on what to watch before in between a few major heart surgeries these kids are going to need," said Stacy Nicholson.

Each youngster received a signed diploma from the head of pediatric surgery.

"Without that training these children nationwide have a 20% risk of mortality during that phase, we've been able to reduce that by 80%," said Nicholson.

The program helps children stay healthy so they can be strong for outings like his recent trip to Disneyland.

"He did good, it was fun, he liked Mickey Mouse, and he got to see Mickey," said Eggleston.

The program is the fifth largest of its kind in the country. More than 200 infants have graduated.

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