Bicuspid Aortic Valve (BAV) is the most common birth defect of the heart. For centuries, it has been responsible for death and suffering. In spite of surgical solutions for the aortic valve and bulging aorta, BAV continues to cause suffering and death in the United States and through out the world.
In December 2007, an apparently very healthy 36 year old swim coach suddenly collapsed and died. His name was Kyle Wilson. Kyle's story is touchingly shared here by his brother on his Outdoors Blog.
As you read about Kyle, look at his pictures, you get a great deal of insight into those with BAV. They are very special people. Often very active and athletic, they are intensely passionate and focused on their interests, and very good at what they do. Generally they glow with health, and may rarely visit a doctors office. But they were born with a BAV, and at some point there is a potential for what happened to Kyle to occur.
Not every BAV makes a sound, and that murmur may not always be present or detected. But for anyone who was ever told they had a heart murmur, it is well worth being checked. As his brother wrote, Kyle might still be coaching swimmers today if there had been follow up on his murmur. Here you can read about the scholarship for swimmers that has been established in honor of Coach Kyle.
The same year that Kyle died, 2007, a paper was published by doctors from London's heart hospital. You can read about it in this blog post, Where Are the BAV Children Now?
Tragically, we know what happened to one child with BAV, Kyle Wilson. Kyle's voice has been silenced. But what happened to him is a resounding message, not to be ignored, as we honor his memory during Heart Month 2013.