Baby Ryals was diagnosed with a rare genetic heart condition whilst he was still in the womb. Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is a rare and complex form of congenital heart disease in which the left side of a child’s heart is severely underdeveloped. The prognosis for Ryals at birth was deeply worrying, and the baby’s father talks on the film below about preparing for his newborn son’s funeral, but a new therapy gave the family hope.
The Mayo Clinic in Philidelphia used umbilical cord blood stem cells from Ryall’s own body to stimulate growth in the right ventricle of his heart. Ryals was the fifth baby to undergo this therapy at Mayo and the Clinic has now developed a consortium to assist more children with congenital heart defects. Ryals is now a smiley happy baby with a bright future.