BATTLING youngster Hayden Smith faces a critical five-hour operation next week to correct a rare heart defect.
Medics have told Hayden’s anxious mum, Ria Smith, that if the surgery goes to plan the adorable youngster, who is just 13-weeks-old, will be able to grow up and develop like any normal child.
That development was worryingly unlikely just weeks ago when Hayden was found to have a heart murmur and scans than showed the baby boy to have a hole in his heart, a condition which affects just seven in 1,000 babies.
At the time Hayden wasn’t strong enough for the surgery but has since been on medication and calorific milk to build him up so he can handle the required operation.
Ria, 21, who lives in the town’s West View Road, today told the Mail: “Although he’s got stronger over the last few weeks he’s now starting to show a lot more symptoms.
“Six weeks ago he wasn’t showing many symptoms at all but now he sleeps a lot and when he’s awake he cries a lot more than he used to.
“I’m happy he’s going in for the surgery which will hopefully help him a lot but I’m just nervous and anxious at this stage. I just want everything to go to plan.”
Ria has been told Hayden’s surgery will take place next week at the Freeman Hospital, in Newcastle. The family are now on red alert as they wait for the confirmation of the day the operation will go ahead. The youngster will then face up to a week on intensive care.
Ria first took Hayden for a check-up after the youngster lost the colour in his arms and legs.
Doctors detected a heart murmur and set a date for a further scan but the youngster took a bad turn and his parents Ria and Anthony Coxon, 22, rushed him back to hospital.
Scans then showed that he was missing the septum, the wall of the heart which splits the left and right ventricle. But the condition was more complicated as the two ventricles in Hayden’s heart aren’t the same size.
Doctors will now attempt to fill the hole in Hayden’s heart in the complex surgery while also having to create a new valve due to the fact the ventricles aren’t the same size.
Ria, who doesn’t work and is also a mum of Poppy Smith, two, said: “The doctors have said to us he should be able to grow up and do things like any other child which is such a relief. But it’s just a case of waiting now to get the call to go for the surgery and hoping he’s ok.”