AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) – There is a new option for patients with congenital heart disease, and Children’s Hospital Colorado was the first hospital in the world to implant the recently approved G-Armor stent.

The first patient to receive the stent at Children’s Colorado was not a child at all. Instead, it was a father of two from Westminster.

Randy Welch was born with a small hole in his heart, but he never had any symptoms. When a doctor suggested an echocardiogram, it showed a hole the size of a nickel and a severely enlarged heart.

Welch had the typical option of open-heart surgery or what was at the time, an experimental procedure using a stent developed by Dr. Gareth Morgan, an interventional cardiologist at Children’s Hospital Colorado, and a team at NuMed for Children.

“Some engineers [and I] basically redesigned the stent, changed a lot of its features to make it much more suitable for kids and young adults who’ve got [a] real need,” Morgan explained.

The stent was designed to be able to expand or contract to accommodate a patient’s needs.

It requires a minimally invasive procedure as opposed to open-heart surgery and the recovery time is greatly reduced.

“The thought of open-heart surgery was really scary,” Welch said. He chose the stent and is now doing well. He’s glad it is now FDA approved.

“I’m just happy that this procedure can help a lot more people because people like myself, a father of two, I have to work and I’m busy,” Welch said. “I couldn’t imagine just taking a five-month recovery period.”

Adults with congenital heart disease can be treated at the Children’s Colorado/UCHealth Adult Congenital Heart Disease program.

If you or someone you know could benefit from this type of treatment, don’t hesitate to reach out to the program’s organizers as soon as possible.