Colton Gregory Murray | Heart Warrior of the Week
Save the Heartbeat Fam, meet Colton Gregory Murray, your Heart Warrior of the Week! Colton was diagnosed with tricuspid atresia, hypoplastic right ventricle, and unbalanced AV canal at 22 weeks gestation. After being born on December 29th, 2015 he was also diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot. His small but mighty body has undergone an astonishing 8 procedures in the 20 months since he was born:
- Three heart catheterizations.
- BT shunt and PDA litigation to increase blood flow and close the PDA.
- G-tube surgery to assist Colton in eating and gaining weight.
- Soave pull-through to remove part of the large intestine due to Hirschsprung’s Disease.
- Bidirectional Glenn and mitral valve repair to temporarily improve cardiac function by removing a vein from the heart and placing it on the pulmonary artery.
- A banding surgery to restrict excess blood flow.
As a result of his complicated heart, Colton has spent about six months in the hospital for procedures, surgeries and recovery time. He is on a medley of medications, some of which are temporary while others will be a lifelong necessity. He is allowed whatever activity his body tolerates at this time but he often tires out, turns blue, or breathes heavily if he is exerting himself too much. While he has already endured so much, his heart journey isn’t over, he will have at least two more surgeries – one of which will be open-heart.
His mom, Kim, describes her Heart Warrior as strong, courageous, determined, inspirational, and a superhero. She says the following about their journey with congenital heart disease:
We fear losing our son to CHD. We fear how his older brother would handle the loss of his younger brother. They love each other very much. Colton’s strong will inspires us every day. He has defied death a few times now yet nothing keeps him down. He continues to love his life despite all that he has been through and brings a smile to everyone he meets. Colton has changed our lives for the better, we can’t imagine our world without him. He inspires us to live each day to its fullest and reminds us that tomorrow is never promised to any of us. We are definitely better people because of him.
About Colton’s Heart Defects
Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)
TOF actually involves four heart defects in one:
- A large ventricular septal defect (VSD)
- Pulmonary Stenosis
- Right ventricular hypertrophy
- An overriding aorta
This type of heart disease is when the tricuspid valve, which acts as an opening between the right atrium and right ventricle, is missing or abnormally developed. Normally, this valve allows oxygen-poor blood to flow from the right atrium to the right ventricle. With no valve, blood can't reach the right ventricle. As a result, the right ventricle is small or missing altogether. Often times, there is also narrowing (stenosis) of the pulmonary valve and pulmonary artery.
Hypoplastic Right Ventricle
When the right ventricle of the heart is either severely underdeveloped or missing altogether. This malformation is often associated with tricuspid atresia.
Unbalanced AV Canal
Instead of separate mitral and tricuspid valve inlets, there is a shared, singular inlet into the ventricular chambers. When this common inlet opens predominantly toward one ventricle or the other, it is an unbalanced AV canal. This results in a single-ventricle physiology, essentially. Importantly, the ventricles, not the common inlet, are what's unbalanced. The development of the ventricles is unbalanced, meaning one is smaller than the other, resulting in hypoplasia (underdevelopment) of the chamber and a misalignment of the ventricular septum.