The marathon of life: Catching up with Greek army lieutenant, 31 years post heart surgery

Ted Sarafis ran the Athens Marathon 30 years after life-saving surgery to close a hole in his heart Well into his teenage years, Greek army lieutenant Thodoris (Ted) Sarafis thought the scar on his chest was the result of an unfortunate tumble he took as a child. “My parents told me I had an accident, and that’s where I got my scar,” he says. Sarafis didn’t learn he’d had heart surgery as a toddler until his medical clearance exam for the Greek national karate team at age 16. Ted took the news in stride, but last year, curiosity got the better of him, and he pressed his father for more information. That’s when he found out exactly where he’d had his life-saving surgery (the Boston Children’s Hospital Heart Center) and who performed that procedure (Dr. Aldo Casteneda, who now lives and works in Guatemala). Ted then learned more about the details of his diagnosis and the extraordinary measures his parents took in 1984 to save his life. Ted was born with an atrial septal defect (ASD), a hole in the wall between the upper chambers of the heart. He needed a surgical intervention to close the hole. This kind of surgery was being perfected at Boston Children’s in the early 1980s, so Ted’s parents, Denis and Maria, decided to go to the U.S. for the procedure. A generous great uncle financed the trip. Although today ASD closure is considered one of the simpler pediatric heart operations, in 1984 it was new and complicated. Ma...
Source: Thrive, Children's Hospital Boston - Category: Pediatrics Authors: Tags: Diseases & Conditions Our Patients’ Stories atrial septal defect cardiac surgery congenital heart disease Heart Center Source Type: news

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