Heart Arrhythmia: Joseph's Story

Joseph Duran was 4 years old when his parents took him for a routine vaccination – and discovered that something was wrong with his heart.

Joseph“He had a little cough, so the doctor checked him out and discovered that he had a heart arrhythmia,” says his mother, Marisol.

Millions of people in the United States have arrhythmias, or abnormal heart rhythms. Joseph has premature ventricular contractions, which are a type of “skipped heartbeat.” On rare occasions, he has another arrhythmia called nonsustained ventricular tachycardia. 

When the Durans moved from New York to Pennsylvania, they transferred Joseph’s care to William Bonney, MD, a pediatric cardiologist with the Cardiac Center’s Electrophysiology and Heart Rhythm Program. The program’s team sees more than 5,000 patients each year and provides the most advanced testing and treatment options.

“CHOP is a good place for him because we have experience taking care of many other children with the exact same arrhythmia,” says Dr. Bonney. “Fortunately, Joseph’s arrhythmia has not caused him any symptoms, pain or other problems, but there is always a risk that his condition could change over time.”

Joseph, who is now 7 and in second grade, is thriving. He loves to play baseball, and he doesn’t need to take any medications to manage his condition. He sees Dr. Bonney regularly for follow-up and testing, including echocardiograms, 24-hour Holter monitoring and exercise stress tests.

At each visit, the Cardiac Center team arranges for a professional medical interpreter to accompany the Durans, whose primary language is Spanish, to all of Joseph’s appointments and tests. At CHOP, interpretation services are provided free of charge to all families that need them, and the interpreters work with the rest of the care team to ensure that each family has the best possible experience.

The team’s efforts mean the world to families like the Durans. Says Marisol: “Joseph’s care has been excellent. We’re really delighted.”