Hole in heart keeps our little Alfie alive

Anna Goldston with her 18-month-old son Alfie
Anna Goldston with her 18-month-old son Alfie
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LITTLE Alfie Howell was born with a hole in heart – but incredibly it is responsible for keeping him alive.

The 18-month-old tot was born with three separate heart conditions – a one in 100,000 chance – and the hole counteracts the life-threatening effects of the other two.

Alfie also has pulmonary stenosis – thickening of an artery – and a third condition, transposition of the great arteries.

It means the arteries into his heart are the wrong way round so it only pumps deoxygenated blood around his body – but the large hole in his heart allows it to mix with oxygenated blood.

The brave tot had open heart surgery at Leeds General Infirmary’s children’s heart centre last month and surgeons opted to keep the hole open and direct blood straight into his lungs to pick up more oxygen.

Mum Anna Goldston said: “They were going to close the hole but when he went into surgery they decided not to as it would have killed him. It’s a big hole in the top of his heart and that’s what’s keeping him alive.”

Miss Goldston, 27, of Moor Bottom Road, Illingworth, is backing a campaign to save the heart centre in Leeds which helped her little boy.

As previously reported in the Courier, the LGI centre – which serves all of Yorkshire – is at risk of closure under a government review which plans to cut the number of children’s specialist heart centres in England. If approved, sick children like Alfie would have to travel to hospitals in Newcastle for treatment.

Miss Goldston said: “If it wasn’t for the LGI Alfie wouldn’t be here. Surely the amount of children that are saved at the hospital speaks volumes.”

If the plans go ahead, she will have to travel to Newcastle in the future for Alfie’s treatment– without family and friends. “It’s a really scary thought. It’s such a long way and I wouldn’t have my family to support me.

“The operations are the worst wait. I can’t imagine not having my mum around the corner.

More than 18,000 have so far signed a petition to keep the LGI centre open. To sign the petition visit www.chsf.org.uk. Miss Goldston and Alfie will be at Illingworth Morrisons today and tomorrow with a petition desk.

l What do you think of the possible closure of the LGI? E-mail us: yoursay@halifaxcourier.ciouk