Mum's nightmare: baby's 'cold' turns into deadly heart infection

Photo: Chloe Lavan
Photo: Chloe Lavan 

Four-month-old Evie Green appeared to have a common cold when her mother Chloe Lavan took her to the GP early last month.

Within days the infant was in a fight for her life after it was discovered she had a rare, potentially fatal heart condition that saw her heart function drop to just three per cent.

Evie's mum Chloe, 24, told Essential Baby, "Initially she had normal cold symptoms - a snuffly and runny nose. This progressed into Bronchilitis so a very bad cough, wheezing a lot and laboured breathing."

Evie in hospital. Photo: Chloe Lavan
Evie in hospital. Photo: Chloe Lavan 

What followed were multiple hospital admissions as Evie's condition worsened and her feeding was affected.

Chloe said, "She had multiple spells in hospital initially as her feeding had declined but because her oxygen levels were okay and she was having half her bottles, she was discharged and was told to keep a close eye on her breathing as Bronchilitis gets worse before it gets better."

Evie was at daycare when Chloe received a call from carers saying they were concerned about Evie's breathing.

"I was actually on a training course for my job. I had a phone call from the nursery saying they were worried about her breathing but I assumed initially that it was the Bronchilitis still."

She collected her daughter and took her straight to the doctor.

"Enough was enough, I needed to find out what was going on," said Chloe. 

Advertisement

"As soon as she got to the doctors they rang an ambulance but it wasn't until they did a chest X-ray and spotted her enlarged heart that I knew this was something far more serious."

After the chest x-ray at the local hospital, Evie "was transferred to a cardiac specialist hospital were they did an ECHO scan of her heart which identified that she had this condition."

Evie was diagnosed with myocarditis, a condition triggered by viral infections that can end in heart failure.

"I was full of questions, I like to know every little detail possible," Chloe said.

"The doctor who told us threw so much information that my head was spinning and I immediately went back to her bedside and cried almost on and off all day."

The devastated mum recalled, "I couldn't believe that this was happening and I almost felt like it was my fault that she had gotten this cold and I should have tried to protect her as much as possible.

Dad David Green, who also shares son Theodore, 20 months, with Chloe, also suffered through the nightmare of Evie's illness.

"My partner is a very quiet person but because I was broken he stepped up to be the strong one the first few days whilst I got my head around it, but he was also devastated," she said.

The tot spent two weeks in hospital being administered "several medications."

"The main ones were was one that needed to clear the fluid around her lungs as this would help her cough and wheezing symptoms, one to assist with her heart function and aspirin to stop clotting of the blood," Chloe explained. 

While Evie has recovered well and continues to improve, it's not the end of the worry.

"We'll still have to come back weekly to see if there's any improvement, and either she'll be on medication for life or she'll need a heart transplant," she said.

Chloe said she had no idea something simple like a cold or a cough could become so serious so quickly.

"I'd never heard of it in my life and I think it's something parents aren't really aware of," Chloe said.

"I've got a little boy as well and he's had coughs and colds all the time but we never considered that could ever happen."

Chloe now hopes to raise money for the 'amazing' Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, UK.

She has set up a GoFundMe "... to raise funds and more awareness, because I had no idea how many children have heart problems."

Evie recovered, but will still require ongoing monitoring. Photo: Chloe Lavan

Evie recovered, but will still require ongoing monitoring. Photo: Chloe Lavan / GoFundMe