A nine-month-old baby boy has amazed doctors by thriving despite being born with just half a HEART.
Ryan Black was rushed to a specialist hospital when he was born last August and developed severe breathing problems.
Doctors discovered the tot had hypoplastic left heart syndrome – a condition affecting one in 5,000 children – meaning the left side of his heart hadn’t developed in the womb.
Incredibly, despite having just a 25 per cent chance of survival, he had open heart surgery when he was eight days old and had a second op days later.
Ryan had another open heart operation in February.
Despite the odds stacked against him, Ryan is now a healthy nine-month-old baby and is expected to make a full recovery.
Mum SallyAnn (corr) Charlton, 34, from Rainworth, near Mansfield, Notts., said: “Naively, you never think your child will be ill, let alone seriously ill, so you are just helpless because there is nothing you can do.
“It was a huge shock. It’s been a roller-coaster journey and my head was everywhere for the first few weeks.
“I didn’t know what to think or what to do.
“I’m a very positive person anyway, but you have to be, you have to fight as much as you can.
“Ryan is a fighter, the doctors have all said that, and hopefully he will continue to fight.”
Ryan was born at Kingsmill Hospital in Mansfield, Notts., on August 15 but was rushed on blue lights 50 miles away to the specialist heart unit at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester.
Medics scanned his heart which confirmed he had hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
He was put on medication and a ventilator and he underwent open-heart surgery when he was just eight days old.
During a six-hour operation, surgeons inserted a shunt into Ryan’s tiny heart to pump oxygen rich blood from his lungs around his little body.
Due to complications, Ryan underwent a second open-heart operation when he was ten days old and kept on a ventilator while mum Sally kept a bedside vigil.
In February he was rushed back into hospital after outgrowing the shunt and struggling to breath.
Doctors performed a third open-heart operation to remove the shunt and he now uses a vein in his neck to help supply his organs with life-giving oxygen.
Recovering Ryan now sleeps on a special ‘sensor mat’, which will sound an alarm should the youngster stop breathing, and he will require specialist equipment in the future including an oxygen saturation monitor.
SallyAnn, who also has a five-year-old daughter Eva, added: “Not only has she had a little brother but she’s had a little brother who is seriously ill.
“It’s had a big impact on her too, but she’s been brilliant and she has memorised all his medication, which is remarkable for a five-year-old.”
SallyAnn, who is estranged from the children’s father, is now raising money for Ryan’s medical equipment and fundraising for heart charity Keep The Beat, which works with Glenfield Hospital.
The specialist heart unit is currently threatened with closure.