On the Pulse

Knox’s Heartfelt Care at Seattle Children’s Leaves Lasting Impact on Wenatchee Family

10.26.2023 | Ashley Speller

A newborn baby wrapped up in a white blanketDuring a regular 12-week prenatal visit, Mollee Lewallen’s obstetrics appointment went from routine to worrying in a matter of seconds.

“We found out that our son, Knox, had an extremely high heart rate,” she explained. “After that appointment, we went to a follow up where his high heart rates continued, so we were recommended to go to Seattle Children’s Wenatchee Clinic to figure out what was going on.”

Seattle Children’s Fetal Care and Treatment Center is the most experienced fetal intervention and surgery program in the Pacific Northwest and utilizes a multidisciplinary approach for conditions identified during pregnancy. The team includes a nurse navigator, maternal-fetal medicine specialist, surgeon, cardiologist, social worker and others, so families can get all of their questions answered.

After receiving an electrocardiogram (EKG) and an echocardiogramDr. Louay Toni, a cardiologist at Seattle Children’s, explained to Mollee and her husband, Chase, that Knox had supraventricular tachycardia (SVT), a problem with the heart’s electrical activity that causes an abnormally fast heart rate.

“They hadn’t really ever seen SVT in a fetus this early on,” explained Mollee. “But Dr. Toni and his team did a great job describing what was going on, keeping us informed, and walking us through every step.”

There are medicines that can control episodes of SVT, and many babies will stop having episodes of SVT, often within the first few months or first year of life. Fortunately, this was true for Knox, who only had SVT while in utero, which Mollee managed with medication and monitoring by her care team.

“When he was born at 39 weeks, Knox was placed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for one week and was prescribed a Beta Blocker medication (which is used to treat heart rhythm problems, high blood pressure and other heart conditions), and now no longer shows any signs of SVT,” Mollee shared. “For a stressful situation, my experience with Seattle Children’s has been amazing.”

Throughout his first year of life, Knox has received regular follow-ups at Seattle Children’s Wenatchee Clinic, one of six specialty regional clinics that works closely with local healthcare providers to meet the needs of children and families in their home community.

an infant holding a baseball up to the camera while sitting on the floor

an infant with a teething ring in their mouth

Today, Knox is a happy, curious, and easy-going one-year-old who enjoys playing with his big sister and learning how things work.

“Dr. Toni is now slowly weaning Knox off of his medication because he is confident that he no longer has SVT and that it won’t return,” Mollee added.

Chase and Mollee are immensely grateful to be on the other side of this journey and encourage other parents or caregivers who may be going through something similar, to ask a lot of questions and keep a positive outlook.

“Don’t ever feel like a question is too small,” Mollee said. “If you truly don’t understand something, ask those questions to get a clarifying answer. We also have a lot of trust in Knox’s care team and that is honestly what got us through this whole process.”

The level of quality care, communication, and flexibility of appointments was also a key factor in their family’s positive experience at Seattle Children’s.

a family smiling and posing for a photo while on a hike in the woods

“I’ve had a lot of medical treatment in my own personal life, and I can say that this was the easiest medical treatment for myself or a family member that I have ever experienced – I can’t express that enough,” Chase said. “It was the best I’ve ever had.”

Knox will be back to visit Dr. Toni when he turns two years old. Until that time, Chase and Mollee rest assured knowing that their son’s care team is so close to home.

“You really do know that they truly care, and I’ve gotten that feeling every single time we have gone to the Seattle Children’s Wenatchee Clinic,” Mollee said. “We would never go anywhere else.”