Jacob’s Heart Story


Our son Jacob Burris was born a healthy baby boy thirteen years ago. He has grown up to be a great student, a dedicated athlete, and an all around great person. In May of 2014 during a routine well-child/immunization visit to the pediatrician it was discovered that Jacob had high blood pressure and a heart murmur that had never before been detected. After follow up tests were performed up at OHSU in Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, Jacob was diagnosed with a heart condition known as a coarctation of the aorta. The aorta is the largest vessel attached to the heart. Jacob’s aorta had a pinch in it much like a kink in a hose.

The kink was causing very high blood pressure above the kink in his upper body, and simultaneously causing very low blood pressure below the kink leaving his lower extremities in a state that is comparable to dehydration. In fact, the only way Jacob was getting any blood flow beyond his kink, is that he had developed a bunch of small compensatory vessels that developed above the kink and connected below, it was his body’s way of adapting to his specific situation in order to get blood flow to the lower portion of his body for 13 years until this point.


Heart disconnect

Collateral Vessels

In July, of 2014, the cardiology intervention team at OHSU attempted to open up this kink by adding a stint. At this time, the intervention team discovered that what had been previously considered to be a kink was virtually disconnected and would require heart surgery to repair.

On September 5th, 2014, Jacob underwent heart surgery. The pediatric cardiac surgical team successfully grafted a carbon based tube in place of the disconnected portion of his aorta. The surgery itself took about 7 hours and his recovery went well. Jacob has since had two subsequent hospitalizations, both to remove fluid from his paracardium, which is the lining around the heart.


Heart Fixed

He is doing great now and has since gotten all caught up in school with his peers. He most recently made the honor roll and also has been released to play sports again. Jacob plans to play baseball this spring! Although his aorta is now functioning normally because the structure was repaired, Jacob continues to have high blood pressure and will likely have to work with a cardiologist for his entire life in order to keep his blood pressure within a healthy range.

Had Jacob’s condition continued to go on undiscovered/ untreated, he could have been lost. Jacob really wants to help others who may be in danger of having a heart condition by reminding everyone to check their blood pressure regularly. A change in blood pressure is often the first indication something may be wrong with your heart. Detecting high blood pressure saved Jacob’s life and it could save the life of someone you love as well.

Thank you for visiting our website! To help offset the financial strain of this experience and to help us spread the word to check your BP regularly, we are asking for and accepting donations to assist with expenses related to medical needs and for supplies.

A donation account is setup at Selco Community Credit Union in the name of The Jacob Burris Donation Account. You can also make a direct donation through this website. Your support is greatly appreciated!