West Virginia teen thankful for Cleveland Clinic Children’s, credits them for saving his life

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CLEVELAND, OH – A teen from West Virginia is crediting Cleveland Clinic Children’s for saving his life.

"I'm speechless. I don't know what to say,” said Steven Knotts.

The 16-year-old has been through a lot. It all started when he was a toddler and began having heart issues.

Doctors back at home tried to find the problem, but couldn’t.

As he got older, the symptoms continued to get worse and in February of this year, he suffered a heart attack.

"If we wouldn't have got here. My son would not be living today. Dr. Stewart saved his life,” said his Mother Cinda Rodgers.

She said they found out about Cleveland Clinic Children’s by chance. A retired employee of the hospital had actually suggested they go there. So they did, and that’s where they met Dr. Robert Stewart, a Thoracic and Cardiac Surgeon.

"Steven's aorta from where it leaves the heart, that's the main blood vessel that pumps blood to the body -- from where it leaves the heart all the way down to where it splits into the legs was the size of a small child's,” he explains. “Steven is a grown boy and so this tiny tube was causing tremendous back pressure on the heart.”

Dr. Stewart teamed up with other experts to find a solution. They ultimately decided to enlarge his abdominal aorta and put in an extra graft.

The surgery took more than 16 hours and was a total success.

"The four high dose hypertensive medicines are now two low dose medicines. We re-echoed his heart and the thickening has already started to go away and he feels great,” said Dr. Stewart.

Steven’s been in town for a few months, but on Saturday he gets to go home. He said leaving will be bittersweet.

"In a way I'm ready to go back home, but this place will always be like family. I mean I owe them my life. They saved me,” said Steven.

To learn more about Cleveland Clinic Children’s, CLICK HERE.