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How Jimmy Kimmel’s Son’s Heart Defect Is Treated

Late night host opened up on infant child's near death experience, drawing attention to a congenital heart defect called tetralogy of Fallot.

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JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE - "Jimmy Kimmel Live" airs every weeknight at 11:35 p.m. EST and features a diverse lineup of guests that includes celebrities, athletes, musical acts, comedians and human-interest subjects, along with comedy bits and a house band. The guests for Thursday, April 20 included Magic Johnson, Gabourey Sidibe (Book, "This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare) and musical guest Dua Lipa. (Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images) JIMMY KIMMEL
Jimmy Kimmel, host of ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live.’ (Randy Holmes/ABC via Getty Images)

As Jimmy Kimmel movingly revealed on his show Monday night, his newborn son underwent emergency open-heart surgery just days after his birth.

A perceptive nurse probably saved the child’s life by noticing the early signs that the child had a congenital heart defect called tetralogy of Fallot.

This heart condition prevented Kimmel’s son’s lungs from getting enough oxygen, requiring surgery. The procedure was a success, but a second operation will be required in a few months and a third when Kimmel’s son is a teenager.

Congenital heart defects occur in just under 1 percent of babies. Of those, 10 percent have tetralogy of Fallot. (The odds of Kimmel’s son’s specific condition are about 1 in 10,000.)

The causes of heart defects are generally not understood. While surgeries have a high success rate, the procedures are a treatment, not a cure. As Dr. Joseph Rossano, executive director of The Cardiac Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, puts it: “We can definitely treat it, and many patients live with these conditions and do very well. But they do need lifelong care.”

Watch below if you missed Kimmel’s revelation of the complications of his son’s birth.

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