Mighty Blog

Iron Range boy beats heart problem

by Tara LaMourea

My son, Tyler LaMourea, was diagnosed with tachycardia, a faster-than-normal resting heartbeat, when he was 6 years old. When he sat at home or school, his heart suddenly went from a normal beat pattern of 65 beats per minute to 230.

Tyler could feel his heart rate change from normal to racing. He never got dizzy or fainted, but he would get pale and feel exhausted. There are things that can be done to convert a heart rate back to normal, but they never worked for Tyler. Each time he had an episode his heart rate would climb higher and remain rapid for longer periods of time.

Tyler and his nurses
Tyler and his nurses

One day, I received a call from his school’s nurse and brought him to the hospital’s emergency room, where he would get an electrocardiogram (EKG), electroencephalogram (EEG) and blood work to make sure there was nothing else abnormal. Tyler’s highest recorded heart rate was 230 beats per minute for 2½ hours before it converted on its own. We were in the emergency room when I saw a monitor go from 230 beats a minute to 175 to 65 within three beats.

On Nov. 3, 2014, Tyler, now 10, had surgery at Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota’s Minneapolis hospital. When we got to the hospital, Tyler was nervous about the surgery — we all were — but all of the people we encountered were nothing short of wonderful, from the receptionist that did our paperwork to the nurses and doctors that took care of Tyler. One of the nurses came into Tyler’s room with the items he was to wear, and in her other hand were two blankets that are donated to Children’s from which he got to choose. Tyler was shocked that he got to keep the blanket. He said the blanket was special to him and he felt better knowing it was in the operating room with him and when he woke up he had it; it was one of the sweetest things to hear from him.

When it was time for Tyler to go to surgery, as parents, my husband, Jeremy, and I were able to go into the operating room with him before it began. Once he started to fall asleep, we left and the team inserted Tyler’s IV.

We were in the waiting area, and the nurse who was in surgery with Tyler would call us to provide updates during the 2½-hour procedure. When the nurse called for the last time, she said they were able to find the nerve that caused the issue and cauterized it. To confirm the surgery was successful, the team was unable to replicate Tyler’s rapid heart rate once the nerve was cauterized, which was a relief to us.

The doctor came in to talk with Jeremy and me about the procedure and what to expect in Tyler’s recovery. We live on the Iron Range, 3½ hours from Children’s – Minneapolis, and were concerned about Tyler traveling that far. We were assured that he was going to be OK as long as he lies flat for a few hours after surgery to get the incisions to close. We got into the room after Tyler woke up and explained to him that he had to lie flat. He was excited there was a Nintendo Gamecube in the room for him to use, so he was in good shape to lie down.

We made the journey safely home, and Tyler had to rest for a few days before resuming normal activities. He’s an active boy who plays football, hockey and baseball. His surgery took place at the start of hockey, and he missed four days of practice before he returned to playing. He was sore for about two weeks, but he would say, “It isn’t too bad.”

Nearly three months after surgery, you would never know Tyler had anything done or there ever was a problem. Children’s was the best experience for which we could have asked. Everyone we encountered that day was so supportive and courteous to us. We will never forget the great experience we had as well as how great they were to Tyler before and after his surgery. We all are grateful to everyone at Children’s and couldn’t have asked for anything more. Thank you to the staff at Children’s who help make a stressful situation for families into a positive experience.