Children's Hospital Colorado helps Lander student with irregular heartbeat

Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 5:39 PM CDT
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In 2018, Li Platz, a Lander High School student went in for her yearly physical to prepare for swim season. Platz's doctor ended up find something that was a bit off with her heartbeat. Further tests showed that she had arrhythmia or an irregular heartbeat.

After finding out about her heart, Platz's family spoke with two different electrophysiologists. Children's Hospital Colorado's experience with cardiology and pediatrics helped the family feel that they were in good hands.

"Whenever we'd do tests, we would go in and talk about it, and just building that relationship between patient, parent. Dr. Schaffer was really helpful, and just clarifying things and also making us feel comfortable about the information," said Platz.

Like Casper, Lander has a pediatric specialty clinic that Children's doctors travel to every couple months, which is where Platz met pediatric cardiologist Dr. Michael Schaffer.

"Seeing people face to face is huge when it comes to communication and putting someone at ease. She (Platz) mentioned how comfortable she was and that's kind of one of our goals, cause it's scary," said Schaffer.

Schaffer and the Children's team found there wasn't anything structurally wrong with Platz's heart and though she wasn't showing symptoms, she still had an irregular heartbeat.

Platz was heading into her senior year and would soon be heading to college. Schaffer and Children's suggested she have surgery.

In 2019, Platz had an arrhythmia ablation. Using a catheter, Children's successfully removed the tissue that was causing Platz's irregular heartbeat.

"I'm not worried about the future because I've had this support from Denver Children's and I will continue to have this support from them as I move forward," said Platz.

Schaffer said he enjoys taking care of his of his patients, but it also means the world to watch them grow into the people they are today.

"I didn't meet Li and her family til late in her high school career, but now I'll get to watch her as she progresses on. The little babies I've taken care of, they're now graduating college, that's huge. I used to get graduation invitations, now I'm getting baby announcements," said Schaffer.

As Platz prepares to head to college, her mom, Shana Tarter, said many programs require health screenings. One of the reasons they pursued the surgery, was so Li would never have to turn down an opportunity.

Platz and Dr. Schaffer will continue to stay in touch and have check ups every couple years. Schaffer also said the pandemic has shown the importance of telehealth.

Children's has been providing telehealth since 2012. According to Children's, before the pandemic it had 100 telehealth visits a week. It is now seeing more than 5,000. Children's does a lot of outreach in Wyoming, so having access to patients through telehealth has been important.

"It's gonna be the wave of the future, it's where our field is going," said Schaffer.

Children's Hospital Colorado takes pride in its partnerships across the region.

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