Artyom was born in April 2009 with Congenital Heart Disease. Anatomically speaking, he had a moderate Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) but remained largely asymptomatic. At the time his biggest hurdle was undiagnosed complex airway disease. Congenital Cardiologists agreed the airway issues should be addressed before attempting any closure of his ASD.
For several years, Artyom’s family struggled to keep him healthy, and physicians were largely at a loss with his airway disease. Their cabinets looked like a small pharmacy and they were on a first-name basis in the children’s hospital emergency department. Finally, around age 5 ½, he received a full and proper diagnosis, and the hunt for the right treatment center was on.
Artyom’s parents used their experience in the CHD world to find support in the airway community. Thanks to a non-profit organization and its founder, also an airway patient, Artyom’s parents found great care with a ground-breaking surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital.
In 2018 Artyom underwent an 8-hour surgery, still considered experimental, to provide relief of his airway disease. It was very successful, and the airway team gave the green light to finally work on his heart. In the Spring of 2019, Artyom rolled into the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory to receive a Septal Occluder device, which closed his ASD, and was lovingly named Taco.
Although surgeries provided anatomical repair for Artyom’s congenital heart and airway defects, he remains a patient of both specialists for his lifetime. As an adult he will be at risk for several complications, both known and unknown, and his specialty teams will be crucial in the quest for continued good health.
Artyom uses his experience of being sick to support other kids in the CHD and airway communities. He is a Junior Advocate for Conquering CHD, attending advocacy conferences in Washington D.C. and participating in several fundraising projects. He has taken meetings with four Senators, three Congresswomen, and several town council members, all in an effort to promote congenital heart disease awareness. His favorite “job” is being a buddy to younger patients and keeping up with all his CHD friends around the country.
Artyom is a year-round athlete, avid reader, up-and-coming coder, and huge fan of the Toronto Blue Jays, Green Bay Packers, and Liverpool FC. You can find him at the library researching sports statistics, on the field practicing, or out in the community making friends. He lives in Southern Nevada with his parents and younger brother, who is also living with CHD. Check out Taosies’ story here.