Spencer Headrick is like a lot of other teenage boys. He likes playing video games and golfing, he’s interested in classic cars and photography, and he’s starting to think about what college he’d like to attend. But Spencer hasn’t always been able to pursue his interests or even go to school. With help from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, however, he has made incredible strides.
Spencer’s mother, Sharon Pruitt, said that as a baby, Spencer was at the doctor constantly because his lips often turned blue. During one trip to an urgent care center, Spencer’s fever spiked so high that he had a seizure and was rushed to Children’s, where a doctor noticed one side of the toddler’s chest was larger than the other.
Tests confirmed the doctor’s suspicions. At 21 months of age, Spencer was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in the lungs and heart. Moving forward, Spencer would have to be careful not to overexert himself, and avoid activities such as contact sports.
“It was the scariest moment in my life,” Sharon said. “I didn’t know if I’d be leaving the hospital with my son.”
For about a decade, Spencer was on medication to help with his symptoms, but eventually the medicine became less effective. Spencer again experienced chest pain, and his lips turned blue from exertion. Doctors found his blood oxygen level—which should be between 95 and 100 percent—was in the low 60s. Spencer agreed to give a different treatment a try.