• By Dana Sparks

Sharing Mayo Clinic: Innovative collaboration offers hope for baby with rare heart defect

February 11, 2018

When Ryals Sexton was diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening heart defect, his parents turned to a new research consortium that offers groundbreaking treatment for hypoplastic left heart syndrome.  


Ryals Sexton, an infant from Alabama, was one of the first to benefit from the work of a new consortium that's helping babies across the U.S. with the rare congenital heart defect hypoplastic left heart syndrome, often called HLHS.

"He's amazing. He is the strongest little boy," Ryals' mother, Andrea Sexton, says. "If you were just looking at him, you'd never know anything was wrong."

Andrea and her husband, Heath Sexton, hardly dared to dream of such a positive outcome when Ryals was diagnosed with the heart defect while still in the womb.

But thanks to a groundbreaking clinical trial of an innovative regenerative therapy, that involved doctors at Mayo Clinic and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the Sextons have what they feared they never would: a sense of normalcy and a chance to dream about Ryals' future.

"I see college. I see happiness, and I see my boys playing together. I see a happy family," Andrea says. "And I believe that this work, this research that these doctors have put hard work into, is going let us achieve that." Read the rest of  Ryals'  story.
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This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.

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