Arizona State University student diagnosed with rare heart defects after stroke

After having a stroke, ASU student Jayden Goss was diagnosed with a rare set of three congenital heart defects and learned he had them since childhood.
Published: Nov. 5, 2023 at 9:52 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Jayden Goss says the stroke he had in January became a blessing in disguise. “Life is very precious. You never know when something is going to happen,” said Goss.

He said he was in line to sit in the student section to watch an Arizona State University basketball game when he had a scary experience. “It just hit me. I zoned out, and I couldn’t talk,” he said.

Goss couldn’t form simple words. He thought it could’ve been anxiety, so he decided to try ordering a drink at a concession stand. However, when he tried to ask for Powerade, Goss said he kept stuttering the letter P. The episode lasted for about 15 minutes. “I was pretty scared. I know my dad could tell when I called him and was finally able to talk, that I was pretty scared,” said Goss.

After going to different doctors in search of an explanation, Jayden later found out he had a stroke. “I couldn’t believe it, honestly. And not knowing where it came from at the time- I was scared of what it would become because it was scary,” he said.

Goss said he struggled to find hospitals to help him but eventually found a team at Phoenix Children’s that took a closer look at his heart. He was diagnosed with a rare set of three congenital heart defects and learned he had them since childhood. However, Goss and his parents never knew.

Dr. Wayne Franklin, the co-director of the Center for Heart Care and Division Chief of Cardiology at Phoenix Children’s, explained heart disease is the most common birth defect, with 8 out of 1,000 babies being diagnosed.

“But as far as prevalence, it’s a pretty rare defect that he has. This is actually the most rare atrial septal defect- the holes in the top chamber of the heart defects,” said Dr. Franklin.

Dr. Franklin explained the hole in Goss’ chamber allowed for red and blue blood cells to mix. “If you have a little clot on the blue blood side, and it goes over to the red blood side, that clot can then go into the body and cause a stroke,” said Dr. Franklin.

Goss had open heart surgery in May and was in the operating room for several hours. Dr. Franklin said there were no complications. He said Phoenix Children’s became the first hospital in Arizona to become accredited to care for adults with congenital heart disease.

Goss showed Arizona’s Family a tattoo on his wrist with the surgery date to mark a monumental time in his life. After missing a year from school, Goss plans to return to ASU in the Spring. “Life is different. It’s going to throw you curveballs. You gotta get through them. It’s going to happen. You get through them, work hard, and it’ll always be good in the end,” said Goss.

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