May 12, 2013

Mother shows strength, love in face of adversity

PLATTSBURGH — Four-month-old Isaac Smart looks and acts like any other child his age.

”You actually wouldn’t know that anything is wrong with him,” said Smart’s mother, Amy Upton, of Plattsburgh. “He’s just so happy.”

But Smart has been sick since he was 6 weeks old, Upton, 23, said.

Smart has aortic coarctation, meaning there is a kink in his aorta, which caused his heart to be enlarged, Upton said.

He was born on Jan. 10 with the condition.


Pinpointing the right diagnosis wasn’t easy, Upton said.

“It was a fight. We went through four doctors.”

Upton noticed that Smart was having terrible bloody noses with clotting, coughing and high fevers for about three weeks.

Doctors told her it was from the dry air.

But Upton knew something was wrong.

After many tests, including one that was a false positive for respiratory syncytial virus, a doctor at CVPH Medical Center in Plattsburgh listened to Smart’s heart and detected a large heart murmur.

When an X-ray was taken of his chest, Smart’s enlarged heart was immediately apparent.

The infant was referred to Fletcher Allen Medical Center in Burlington for an Echocardiogram, a sonogram of Smart’s heart.

The diagnosis of aortic coarctation came soon after.

“I immediately started balling,” Upton said, holding Isaac on her lap.

Smart has increased blood pressure in his upper body and decreased blood flow to his lower extremities, Upton said.

And the heart “overworks itself,” Upton said, which causes the enlargement.

Without surgery, Smart could have heart failure, a stroke or a heart attack, she said.

Without the proper treatment, Smart would be expected to live to be only 40 years old, his mother said.


Smart’s surgery is scheduled for May 21 at Albany Medical Center.

Doctors told Upton they won’t know what the surgery will entail until they are able to view her son’s aorta during the operation.

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