We all have times when we are nervous and our heart feels like it's going to jump out of our chest that's normal. It is not normal when you are 13 and your heart starts beating 3 times faster than it should for no apparent reason. We went to Parker to meet a teen who discovered he was born with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, but is back on the football field now with no residual affect.
As an 8th grader (now 14) Cody Bussell is already a standout on the Parker JV Football squad. As quarterback he literally stands head and shoulders above his offense. He also stands out in town as one of the youngest athletes to have a unique heart procedure that cured him. He noticed something was wrong last May (2010) so he immediately called to his mom, who happens to be a nurse, for help.
His mom Tricia says, "He woke up, took a shower like he normally does getting ready for school and came to me to say his heart felt funny."
Cody says, "My heart was beating really fast. It felt like it was jumping out of my chest."
Tricia says, "I got my stethoscope out and listened and realized it was beating fast and irregular."
Cody says, "My chest was sore, I was light headed and I felt like I was going to pass out."
Tricia says, "His heart was beating faster than 180 beats a minute so I knew something was going on. A normal heart rate is 60 to 80. Since he is an athlete his resting heart rate is 60. When it went to 3 times that it isn't good."
An EKG showed Cody had Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome or WPW. A condition you're born with that causes the heart to beat irregular because of an abnormal extra electrical pathway between the heart's chambers. Electrophysiologist Dr. Riyad Mohama from North Central Heart was Cody's doctor.
Dr. Mohama says, "We introduce special catheters inside the heart we can advance those, manipulate those wires in the location that has abnormal pathways and then apply a special heat to it which is radio frequency energy and usually destroys the abnormal tissue. It completely eliminates the source of the problem. If we can get rid of that extra pathway that would cure the situation. Very few things in medicine can we cure and this is one of them."
Although Cody doesn't think about what could have happened had his heart gone bizerk while playing football, or any other sport for that matter, his parents certainly do.
Tricia says, "Both my husband Scott and I have been nervous since he had this episode in May. It's been a very nerve racking experience. We are very thankful everything turned out good."
Thankfully now the Quarterback's options are truly endless.
Even though you are born with WPW condition is often only discovered by chance after a rapid, irregular heart beat and often times that appears for the first time when people in their teens or 20's.