Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
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Monroe Carell Jr.
Children's Hospital
at Vanderbilt
2200 Children's Way
Nashville, TN 37232

(615) 936-1000

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Meet Luke

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Luke Jenkins, 7, was a perfect fit to star in a commercial for a cardiologist. He nailed his lines, an effort that was harder for other children who auditioned for the part.

Perhaps, medical language rubbed off on Luke in his early months of life, jokes his mother, Karen Jenkins. Luke was born early at 35 weeks after he was found to be suffering from supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), an abnormal heart rhythm. The abnormal rate can be caused by a problem with the heart's electrical system.

His heart rate was 280 beats per minute, and he was not moving inside his mother's womb. Doctors delivered Luke via emergency cesarean section at a local Nashville hospital.

"Luke came into this world so swollen, with more than a pound of extra fluid, blue, not moving and not breathing, and in what we now know was an episode of SVT," said Karen Jenkins.

Luke's survival was uncertain. He was transferred to Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, where doctors were able to get his heart rate under control.

By day three, Luke was breathing on his own, and appeared healthy, though the SVT episodes continued. He spent 25 days at Children's Hospital, while cardiologist Frank Fish, M.D., worked to find the right combination of medicines to keep Luke's heart rate under control.

After trying eight different combinations of medications, Luke finally had the best mix of medicine to keep his rhythm normal.

"I was so thankful for the care that Luke was given and that Dr. Fish found the medicines to help him," said Luke's father, Jamie Jenkins.

After several emergency room visits for SVT, Luke finally went a few months without an episode. SVT in infants can often be resolved within the first year of life.

When Luke was 8 months old, Dr. Fish decided to wean him off the medicine. He hasn't had an SVT episode since.

Luke is now 7 years old and is in first grade. He's a straight ‘A' student and a leading scorer for his flag football and basketball teams. He has three siblings: Amanda 17, Jacob, 9, and Zach, 2.

"Although we no longer live in Nashville, we're so thankful that we had the chance to live there when Luke was born and when we needed the care and expertise of Vanderbilt," Karen Jenkins said.

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