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Featured Family Member - Seth Cavanagh

Evonne Barry


Lisa, Seth & Robert Cavanagh
Lisa, Seth & Robert Cavanagh

SETH Cavanagh left the Royal Children's Hospital yesterday a healthy five-year-old, a week after he seemed destined for a tragically short life.

Corrective surgery has repaired holes in his heart that allowed blood to travel the wrong way through his two main heart chambers.

Now the cheeky youngster can look forward to playing with his three sisters without being left blue-lipped and weary. "He had a lot of energy, but he would use it a lot faster," said his mother, Lisa. 

As Seth grew, so did the pressure on his lungs and heart. His surgeon Dr Christian Brizard, said the condition, known as ventricular septal defect, grew progressively worse. 

"The heart muscle becomes very, thick and eventually the heart's not strong enough," he said. 

The repair process began at three months. But the big job took place last week, when new surgery was used to patch the holes. 

Seth's mother and father, Robert, had to endure eight hours of surgery as 13 experts worked on his heart. 

Seth's condition also caused him to be born without his thumbs. 

"It's a great relief to know that Seth can really grow now," Mr Cavanagh said. 

Dr Brizard believes Seth will need no further treatment. 

He hopes the surgery will save other children and will join colleagues on Sunday to launch the Children's Heart Research Centre at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, which will complement the hospital's renowned clinical excellence.

This story appears courtesy of the Herald Sun newspaper, Victoria, Australia.

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