2016 Superhero Heart Run Ambassador – Cooper Leeman

Cooper was normal healthy 14 month old boy when we started to notice a change in his breathing. He was getting more winded with activity and grunting. After having him evaluated by his pediatrician and originally thinking it was a viral illness the pieces started to not fit. They did an echo, EKG, and blood tests which found Cooper to be in heart failure. His heart was functioning at 20%. He was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy and spent 9 days in the PICU at Mercy in DSM. After failed outpatient therapy for a week a repeat echo showed no improvement and Cooper was immediately transferred to U of I where he would begin the process of being placed on the heart transplant list. A cardiac cath was done to determine pressures in the heart chambers and lungs. He also needed a central line placed for continuous milrinone therapy. This medication helps the squeeze function of his heart while he waits for transplant. The procedures went well however there were complications and Cooper went into cardiac arrest. They performed CPR for 5 mins. After a few days in the PICU they were weaning him off sedation and he was displaying signs of a stroke. MRI showed he had had a stroke due to lack of oxygen to his brain during CPR. The stroke left Cooper basically at the level of a newborn. Also the occipital area of the brain was impaired causing him to have cortical blindness. This means he can see shadows but beyond that we are not sure. Throughout the next few months Cooper was in and out of the hospital due to complications with his central line and neurological status. Summer of 2015 was good to Cooper, he was able to be at home with no illnesses. September brought another complication with his line which resulted in him becoming septic from the replacement surgery. He was back in the PICU for a week. December we decided to go with a G-tube and that has been a life saver. As we wait at home for a new heart Cooper remains stable and doing well. He is learning new things every day and lights up a room with his smile and giggle.

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