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Lombard preschooler's risky surgery a success
By Anna Madrzyk | Daily Herald Staff

Tim Grobart, 3, of Lombard, is recovering from complex surgery to rewire his heart.


Paul Michna | Staff Photographer

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Published: 6/17/2010 4:48 PM | Updated: 6/17/2010 4:49 PM

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A newly rewired heart beats inside Lombard preschooler Tim Grobart's tiny chest.

Surgeons at the University of Michigan successfully performed the risky "double switch" operation Wednesday without complications.

"Structurally, everything looks good," said Jeff Grobart, Tim's dad. The doctors are "very pleased," he added.

The red-haired 3-year-old was recovering Thursday in the intensive care unit. He is on a ventilator with three chest tubes for drainage.

Though the little boy is still heavily sedated, "he definitely recognized his mom's voice and turned to hear her," Grobart said.

Tim was born with a rare heart defect in which the two lower chambers, the ventricles, operate in reverse. The chamber that's supposed to pump blood to his body served his lungs; the weaker chamber was working in overdrive to pump blood throughout his body.

The "double switch" procedure to disconnect the major blood vessels and reconnect them to the correct chambers is one of the most complex cardiac surgeries performed.

For much of the nine-hour surgery, Tim was on cardiac bypass, his heart stopped. Surgeons spent the final three hours trying to control some of the bleeding, which has since slowed.

Throughout the long day, Grobart kept family and friends updated at

Doctors now are keeping a close eye on Tim's abnormal heart rhythm and his left ventricle, which is "a little more sluggish than they would have hoped," Grobart said.

Jeff and Christine Grobart expect to spend at least two weeks in Ann Arbor. With them are their 6-year-old Louis - Tim's adored big brother and favorite playmate _ and both sets of grandparents.

"There's still obviously a way to go," Grobart said, "but to have made it through the surgery and the first night and the first day and be able to see him bounce back from a couple of bumps along the way, that feels great."