From left, News Channel 3’s Dan Davis, Arizona Cardinals Manager Michael Bidwell and Cardinals running back Marcel Shipp pose for a photo with Brent Sutton (foreground) while he recovered from heart surgery at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in December. The celebrities were making rounds boosting patient morale when they stopped by and briefly chatted with Sutton
Sutton was recovering from corrective surgery for a condition called ventricular tachycardia in which erratic electrical impulses cause a dangerously high heart rate — Sutton’s was 230 beats per minute.
Brent’s father, Judge Bill Sutton, says that symptoms of the condition began appearing about a year ago when Brent had problems controlling his heart rate. The situation culminated in September with the boy coming home sick from football practice displaying a high heart rate and very weak pulse. Sutton was taken to Flagstaff Medical Center where he was diagnosed with ventricular tachycardia and recommended for corrective surgery.
Skip ahead to the present and all appears to be well, according to Sutton’s parents. They report that Brent was in surgery for no more than three hours and was released the following day. Though lifting weights only a day or so after arriving home was against the doctor’s orders, Sutton’s parents take it as a sign of fast recovery and are very proud of the courage the boy showed.
“He’s a hard kid to keep down,” Linda Sutton said, adding that Brent has already gotten back into his normal routine of activity.
Sutton’s parents also said that physicians claim a 95 percent success rate with the surgery and are optimistic that Sutton’s condition will no longer occur.
Another aspect that might be comforting for Sutton is that he’s not alone. Evidently, the condition strikes about one out of every 5,000 people and is currently shared by two other WHS students.