Burjeel Medical Center treats a young boy who had a cardiac arrest while swimming

ABU DHABI, 3rd May, 2023 (WAM) — A grade five student who suffered a cardiac arrest at the swimming pool has been treated for a rare congenital heart condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome.

Leonardo Osorio McGeehan, 11, suffered another cardiac event after the incident in the pool. This led to his diagnosis. His mother’s Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and other nearby people’s timely assistance saved his life. As a physical therapist, the mother was trained in CPR.

“We were throwing a ball into the pool when I noticed that my son was feeling unwell and began to go under the water. My daughter and two couples at the pool helped me get him out. He was struggling with breathing and his eyes were rolling. It looked like he had a seizure. Martina McGeehan said, “I immediately began performing CPR.”

The paramedics used the defibrillator on the way to hospital after taking over CPR from his mother. They shocked him to stabilise the airway. The police escorted Martina to the hospital. Leonardo was moved to the ICU, and intubated.

Further investigations revealed Leonardo had a congenital heart defect called Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, caused by an abnormality in the heart’s electrical pathways. He was transferred to Burjeel Medical City, where Dr. Christopher Duke is a Consultant Pediatric Cardiologist.

Dr. Duke said, “Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome is a fairly rare disorder that affects 1-3 in 1,000 people worldwide. The patient’s heart had an extra muscle that was causing abnormal electrical activity. This syndrome is usually accompanied by palpitations in children. It’s rare that they suffer a cardiac event.

“In my career spanning over 20 years, this is only the second case I have seen where a patient with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome suffered a cardiac arrest. “We decided to perform pediatric radiofrequency ablation in order to treat this condition,” said Dr. Duke.

Rola AlGhoul/ Esraa Esmail

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