Heart transplant recipient diagnosed with cancer
A boy who underwent a heart transplant at 2 weeks old has now been diagnosed with lymphoma cancer, according to Holly Whitson-Tate, a friend of the Frazier family.
Born six weeks premature on Aug. 30, 2012, Brantley Elmer Lee Frazier was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and transported to Arkansas Children’s Hospital cardiovascular intensive care unit at the time.
The syndrome is a rare type of congenital heart disease in which parts of the heart’s left side do not completely develop, and Brantley’s heart was relying on the right ventricle for maintaining circulation for the lungs and the body, but with the extra workload, stress would eventually cause that side to fail if something wasn’t done.
Brantley needed a transplant, but doctors told parents Justin Frazier and Stevi Herrmann of Cave City that chances of their only child receiving a new heart could take between one and three months.
Justin said he and Stevi were told only about 1 in 9,000 children are born with a heart disease and even less are born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome as severe as Brantley’s. They were told that infants with the syndrome have two options, either undergoing a three-step surgery process of repairing the heart periodically, leading to a heart transplant in the late teens, or do a transplant immediately as an infant.
In Brantley’s case only one route was available since he had a “real bad hole on the tricuspid valve causing a severe regeneration or leak of blood back into the body.” His heart wasn’t stable enough to be able to handle the three-step surgery,” Justin said at the time.
Fortunately for Brantley, he didn’t have to wait that long. News of a new heart came as he turned 2 weeks old. The surgery was successful, but now, Brantley has now been diagnosed with lymphoma cancer.
The family has been told that the cancer that attacks the lymph nodes is treatable, “but not curable,” Tate said, pleading for financial help for the family while they are staying at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.
Brantley, now 16 months old, began his first round chemotherapy Monday. He will undergo treatments once every three weeks for 4 1/2 to 6 1/2 months, according to Justin, who told the Guard the cancer was discovered after he and Stevi found a spot on the inside of Brantley’s leg.
Because Brantley was feeling sick they took him to Children’s and a CAT scan “showed he had them all over his body.”
However, from a heart transplant to a cancer diagnosis, Brantley has remained a happy little boy, Justin said, and “he’s growing like a weed.”
Arkansas Children’s Hospital has also been great, Justin added. “We couldn’t ask for anything better and we appreciate everyone’s support.”
An account has been set up at First Community Bank in Justin Frazier’s name for donations to help the family with medical and other expenses. “Team Brantley Frazier” can also be found on Facebook where users can post comments and send well wishes to the family.