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Born with half a heart, 7-year-old Blountville boy now thriving

Leigh Ann Laube • Mar 31, 2011 at 9:10 AM

Caleb Royston’s half a heart may limit his physical activities, but the 7-year-old isn’t afraid to take on his three older siblings in a game of Sorry or challenge his brother to a game of PlayStation football.Caleb has hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a congenital condition in which all of the structures on the left side of his heart — the side that receives oxygen-rich blood from the lungs and pumps it out to the body — are severely underdeveloped.Caleb was born in August 2003 to Mike and Wendy Royston of Blountville. He was their fourth child and second son.During week 20 of Wendy’s pregnancy, an ultrasound failed to show all four chambers of Caleb’s heart. Caleb was initially misdiagnosed with Turner syndrome, a genetic condition in which a female does not have the usual pair of two X chromosomes.A pediatric cardiologist in Johnson City eventually put a name to Caleb’s condition, and the Roystons were given three options — do nothing and let Caleb die; hope for a heart transplant; or subject him to three open-heart surgeries.Read the expanded version of this report in the print edition or the enhanced electronic version of the Kingsport Times-News.

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