Overcoming the same heart condition that killed his father, Ian Sprouse is beating the odds thanks to personal commitment — and the Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital cardiology team.
He was diagnosed at birth with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which causes the heart walls to thicken. The condition can block the flow of blood out of the heart.
Pediatric cardiologists at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital closely monitored Ian, who grew up playing t-ball, shooting hoops and riding bikes. He was evolving into a good baseball player up until the summer before 11th grade. That's when team sports became off-limits after he collapsed one day.
When Ian visited Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital following his collapse, his physicians suggested an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), a battery-powered device implanted under the skin. Small enough to fit in your hand, the computerized ICD monitors the heart’s rhythms through wire leads. The procedure to implant the ICD takes less than two hours and is performed in a specially equipped Electrophysiology (EP) lab.
All in the family
If the ICD detects a severe arrhythmia, the device delivers shock therapy to restore a normal rhythm. The device also records information about the heart’s performance during abnormal events. Cardiologists can download the record by waving a wand over the patient's chest.
Ian's paternal great-grandmother also has HCM and an ICD.
"When I think about what this means to me, I think about my great-grandmother who is 94 and has received a shock from her ICD on four different occasions,” Ian shared. “She's still alive. That's all I need to know."
A striking comeback
Ian’s mother wisely got him interested in bowling at an early age. She figured it was one sport he could always participate in.
"They said I could do it for the rest of my life,” Ian reported.” As long as my joints are fine, I'm good to go."
And go he has. Ian won the singles and doubles crown at the Charlottesville city bowling tournament. He co-founded the Longwood bowling club, and he hopes to inspire a new generation of bowlers.