DENVER (CBS4) – A baby boy is recovering from open heart surgery after being born with life-threatening heart defects. CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh met Issac Foster and the doctors who operated on him. In fact, one of the doctors invented the procedure.

Dr. Hisashi Nikaidoh was in Denver for the delicate operation. The procedure was named after him and Issac was his 25th case.

Issac is an inquisitive, adorable baby. He looks like a healthy 8-month-old, but his use of oxygen gives him away.

“He is a pretty sick little boy,” his mother Amy Foster said.

Isaac was born with a combination of severe heart defects. Two major vessels were reversed, he had a hole where he shouldn’t, and a valve that was too narrow.

“He’s just all boy, and a little warrior is the way I kind of see him,” his father Tom Foster said.

Isaac’s fight has just begun. The Fosters of Steamboat Springs came to Denver for Issac to have the open heart surgery.

“I’m scared to death for him,” Tom said.

“It is what it is, but we’re in good hands,” Amy said.

Issac was in the hands of Nikaidoh and pediatric heart surgeon Dr. Steven Leonard. They worked together for 20 years in Dallas. They were in the operating room at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. Nikaidoh supported Leonard as he performed the so called “Nikaidoh Procedure.”

“My first patient, he had this operation when seven years of age. He’s now either 34 or 35,” Nikaidoh said.

It was a complicated combination of operations — switching the arteries, making surgical moves and repairs, and replacing the narrow valve with the jugular vein from a cow. It took more than six hours.

The doctors emerged optimistic.

“He’s very stable and looking very good right now,” Leonard said.

Isaac’s parents know there may be problems ahead, but they have big plans for him.

“Just like any other little boy, playing and having fun,” Tom said.

Tom and Amy have been by Isaac’s side the whole time. He is still in the pediatric intensive care unit, but he’s off the ventilator and doing well.


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