This health video shows ways to reduce heart failure in infants.
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Jennifer Matthews: Michelle Whitlock says the anticipated joy of her son Drew's birth five months ago was overshadowed by fear. Michelle Whitlock: He never did pink up. He was still blue. They were giving him oxygen, and his levels were still very low. Jennifer Matthews: Drew had an aorta and pulmonary artery that were reversed. He had open heart surgery to correct the defect, but he faced the risk of a condition called low-cardiac output syndrome. Dr. Michael Hines: If they have that low-cardiac output syndrome, they don't pump enough blood to their other organs, and if they don't get enough blood to their liver and kidneys, those organs can get sick. Jennifer Matthews: It's a life-threatening condition. Doctors know the drug milrinone can treat it by improving the heart's ability to squeeze and by relaxing the arteries. In Drew's case, doctors were hoping for even more. They gave him the drug before the condition had a chance to develop. Dr. Michael Hines: It prevented the onset of low-cardiac output syndrome, rather than treat it when it occurs. Jennifer Matthews: A new study shows infants who were given a high dose of Milrinone within 36 hours of surgery were about 55 percent less likely to develop LCOS. The Whitlock's say Drew's nurse called Milrinone the Sunshine Drug. It looks like it's brought some sunshine into their lives. Michelle Whitlock: I mean having major open-heart surgery, and to have recovered as quick as he did, and for us to be able to take him home, was a miracle. He's just a healthy little boy, nice and pink. Jennifer Matthews: This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.