Every year, 100,000 babies don't make it to their first birthday because of CHD.
Ryder James Montano | Heart Warrior of the Week

Save the Heartbeat Fam, meet Ryder James Montano, our Heart Warrior of the Week! Ryder was born on September 29th, 2011. His pediatrician detected a heart murmur shortly after his birth and he was officially diagnosed with pulmonary stenosis at six-months old and was later diagnosed with supravalvular aortic stenosis at 1.5 years old.

Throughout his six years of life, this warrior has undergone two surgeries on his heart: one open-heart surgery and one cardiac catheterization. While Ryder was on bypass during one of these surgeries, he had an allergic reaction to the plastic in the bypass bump which caused him to develop postpump chorea - a movement disorder that causes a lot of involuntary movements.

He underwent a series of deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgeries - neurosurgical procedures involving the implantation of a medical device called a neurostimulator (sometimes referred to as a 'brain pacemaker'), which sends electrical impulses through implanted electrodes to specific targets in the brain for the treatment of movement and neuropsychiatric disorders.

congenital heart disease, chd

Between his heart surgeries and brain procedures, Ryder has spent about six months in the hospital and will have to be on medication to control his involuntary movements for the rest of his life. His Mom, Ashley, hopes that they are able to close this chapter of his story and that he won’t have to undergo any more surgeries on his brain and heart.

Ashley describes her son as strong, brave, fearless, determined, and handsome, saying the following about their journey with congenital heart disease:

"We face worries every single day but we try really hard not to focus on that and appreciate every moment here together. Ryder’s will to never give up, and the amount of selfless love he shows to everyone is an inspiration to me."

About Ryder’s Heart

Pulmonary Stenosis

This defect involves the narrowing of the pulmonary valve; this creates an obstruction when blood tries to flow from the right ventricle to the pulmonary artery to receive oxygen from the lungs. With pulmonary stenosis, the pulmonary valve cannot fully open so the heart must work harder to pump blood through the valve.  As a result, not enough blood reaches the lungs and oxygen saturations are low throughout the body.

Symptoms include abdominal bloating, bluish color to the skin (cyanosis), chest pain, fainting, fatigue, poor weight gain or failure to thrive in infants, and shortness of breath. Depending on the severity of the condition, there are a variety of treatment options including balloon catheterization and valve replacement via open-heart surgery.

This defect accounts for approximately 8% of all CHD’s, occurring in 8 out of every 10,000 live births worldwide.

Supravalvular Aortic Stenosis

supravalvular aortic stenosis

A form of aortic stenosis characterized by the narrowing of the section of the aorta just above the valve that connects the aorta to the heart (aortic valve). This abnormality restricts the blood flow from the left ventricle to the aorta and may also affect pressures in the left atrium. As a result, the heart has to pump harder and the body is deprived of oxygen.

Symptoms include fatigue upon exertion, failure to gain weight, poor or inadequate feeding, and breathing problems. Treatment options for aortic valve stenosis include medical management with medicine, valve replacement via open-heart surgery, or a balloon procedure via catheterization.

This defect accounts for approximately 6% of all CHD cases, occurring in 3.8 out of every 10,000 live births worldwide.


Kari Edwards

Kari Edwards said:

I love watching Ryder thrive in life. He is my little FB Inspiration. His mom gives me strength just by watching her strength with Ryder. I love getting my daily doses and smiles from Ryder…. XOXO


Mike said:

I have been following this little warrior for a while now.everything Ashley says about him is so true. What a great inspiration he is.

Christina Bodnar

Christina Bodnar said:

Amazing Little Prince <3

so proud of you !

Val Smith

Val Smith said:

Ryder is my hero and oh so very loved! his mommy is such an inspiration to me.


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