Jimmy Kimmel: What To Know About His Son’s Heart Condition

Jimmy Kimmel’s son that is newborn emergency open-heart surgery just a few days after birth, the late-night host revealed Monday in an emotional Jimmy Kimmel Live monologue.

William “Billy” Kimmel was only about three hours old when a nurse noticed he had a heart murmur and looked slightly discolored, Kimmel said. Doctors soon determined he had a congenital defect, called tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia, that was preventing his lungs from getting enough oxygen.

Kimmel assured his audience that the story had a ending that is happy however the comedian struggled through rips while he recounted the harrowing tale and shared an image of their boy installed to cables and devices. “He went in there with a scalpel and performed some type of secret I couldn’t even start to describe,” he stated of their son’s cardiac doctor at Children’s Hospital la. “It had been the longest three hours of my entire life.”

The surgery had been a success, Kimmel stated, but their boy needs another process in a months that are few and a third as a teenager. Fortunately, the prognosis for most patients with tetralogy of Fallot is very good. Here are a few things to know about this heart that is fairly common, and just how it’s addressed in babies just a couple of times old.

Health.com: WATCH: Jimmy Kimmel Tearfully shows Newborn Son Billy Underwent open-heart operation

About 1% of children tend to be produced with congenital heart problems

Structural problems because of the heart, called congenital heart flaws, take place in just below 1% of children. Among children produced with heart disease, about 10percent have actually tetralogy of Fallot—the most reason that is common heart surgery shortly after birth. About 20% of those babies have the most severe form of the disease, tetralogy of Fallot with pulmonary atresia.

“Overall, the incidence of this specific diagnosis is somewhere less than 1 in 10,000,” says Dr. Mary Donofrio, director of the Fetal Heart Program at Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C. (Donofrio is not involved in Baby Kimmel’s care, but she has treated babies with the same condition.)

While genetics can sometimes play a role, most cases of congenital heart defects, including most cases of tetralogy of Fallot, are unexplained.

Tetralogy of Fallot is four defects in one

The disease Kimmel’s son was diagnosed with is named for the doctor who first described it (Fallot), and the four (“tetra”) different defects that it entails: First, a hole exists between the bottom two ventricles, or chambers, of the heart. Second, the valve that is pulmonary arteries tend to be narrowed or obstructed, maintaining bloodstream from dealing with the lung area. Third, the aorta, the artery that is large carries blood away from the heart, is slightly out of place.

The fourth defect is called hypertrophy, which means that the heart becomes thicker and more muscular because it has to work harder to pump blood. This complication isn’t generally seen in the United States, however, because the other three problems are fixed before the fourth can occur.


Most babies are diagnosed with tetralogy of Fallot in the hospital shortly after birth, either because they have a discoloration that is bluish because their particular bloodstream air amounts (as taped by a pulse oximeter unit) tend to be reasonable. “We actually do not have a kid be discharged after delivery without an analysis, because several of those young ones may get extremely sick once they’re residence,” claims Dr. Joseph Rossano, executive manager regarding the center that is cardiac Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. (Rossano is also not involved in Baby Kimmel’s care.)

When a baby is also diagnosed with pulmonary atresia, this means the blood flow to their lungs is completely blocked, rather than partially obstructed. “This is the most form that is severe together with infant will likely to be blue,” claims Donofrio. “In this instance, the situation should be fixed immediately, immediately after delivery.”

Surgery success prices are superb, even yet in newborns

A person’s heart is all about how big is their particular fist, states Rossano, therefore one only has got to think about how big is a baby’s fingers to comprehend the task of a cardiac surgeon that is pediatric. “There are very technical challenges, but at high-quality centers all over the world, the vast majority of children survive this procedure and have excellent outcomes,” he says.

Heart surgery on infants often involves smaller-scale instruments and materials, says Donofrio, and doctors use special glasses that magnify infant that is tiny and arteries. Many of whom are already sick.

For besides surgeons, an entire care team is also needed to tend to the unique needs of newborns a baby with tetralogy of Fallot, “the surgeon closes the hole in the heart’s wall just like you would sew a patch onto a pair of pants,” Donofrio says. “Sometimes fabric is actually used to seal it off.”

Several procedures are usually required

Depending on the severity of a child’s condition, more procedures may be needed she gets older as he or. Much more considerable surgeries in many cases are delayed until a kid is a couple of months old and their particular heart is bigger and more powerful.

If synthetic valves or connections are employed during these surgeries, they’ll need that is likely be replaced at least once more. “Unfortunately, these materials don’t grow along with the rest of the heart,” Donofrio says. “Hopefully someday we’ll develop materials that will grow and expand over time.”

This is one reason Rossano cautions against saying that surgery can “cure” congenital heart defects. “We can definitely treat it, and patients that are many with one of these problems and do perfectly,” he states. “But they do require lifelong care.”

Most children mature healthy

Even whenever babies tend to be run on right after delivery, the majority are released through the medical center within per week or two, states Donofrio. They’ll need appointments that are follow-up minimum yearly, and may be supervised closely for problems, both actual and developmental. (neurologic dilemmas are now and again connected to surgeries at really youthful centuries.)

But in general, Donofrio states, young ones using this disease—and their moms and dads—have a great deal to be upbeat about. “They can run-around, they are able to head to college, they could be professional athletes,” she says. “This is one thing we come across frequently, along with improvements in contemporary medication and surgery, it’s one thing we could manage.”

Rossano agrees that patients with congenital heart disease can mature relatively ordinarily. “I don’t want parents to believe the youngster will likely to be therefore delicate they need to reside in a bubble,” he says. “Our goal is always to have these young ones residing healthier, active lives.”

This article originally showed up on Health.com