After heart attack at age 5, Knoxville boy’s parents hope EKGs become standard practice

Local News

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Seventeen minutes. Press. Breathe. Wait.

A Knoxville father spent 17 minutes performing CPR on his son.

Stone Buckner was having a heart attack. He was 5-years-old.

Buckner was born with a congenital heart defect. His parents and doctors had no idea. The genetic condition he has is called Long QT Syndrome. The boy survived, but roughly 4,000 children in the U.S. die each year from the condition.

“We’re thankful to God that day that during that time, you know … EMT arrived, took him to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, went to Vanderbilt, and that’s where he was diagnosed with a rare heart condition, with a heart arrhythmia,” David Buckner, Stone’s father, said.

Stone’s parents said they were surprised and caught off guard by the heart attack. They hope a simple electrocardiogram can be added to physicals for children to prevent that.

“If our story can just change somebody’s life just to know that maybe somebody will hear this out there and their child might have some symptoms that they’ve not thought a lot about and it might make them get a screening it might make them be able to prevent a really traumatic event,” Nikki Buckner, Stone’s mother, said.

If your child says he or she doesn’t feel well, listen. That’s her message. An EKG costs about $50. It’s a simple and noninvasive test.

Stone has had surgery and will continue treatment his entire life, but his mom and dad said he lives a relatively normal life.

While they can’t prevent the heart defect that almost killed their son, the Buckner’s want other parents and doctors to know the signs. Symptoms of Long QT Syndrome include seizures, feeling faint or fainting, and palpitations.

It is congenital heart defect week and The American Heart Association and The Children’s Heart Foundation are committing almost one million dollars to research. The Buckners are relieved to hear it.

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