Access Exclusive: Backstreet Boy Brian Littrell On Son’s Kawasaki Disease
First Published: January 7, 2009 6:53 PM EST Credit: Access Hollywood
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- The Travolta family said their son, Jett, was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease, a syndrome associated with heart disease in children. The illness has also just struck the 6-year-old son of Backstreet Boy Brian Littrell.
In an exclusive interview with Access Hollywood, the singer recalled the terrifying moment he heard about his son Baylee’s diagnosis and his thoughts when he heard the disease being associated with John Travolta and Kelly Preston’s son.
“I first heard Kawasaki’s and I was like, ‘This is just, this is too much,’ because we had just battled for the past two weeks. And getting Baylee well, and all this stuff, and then it hits the press,” Brian told Access’ Shaun Robinson of the news of Jett Travolta’s sudden death last week.
Baylee was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease one week before Christmas and just two weeks before the death of Jett, who the Travolta family said had been diagnosed with the same disease.
Brian said he and wife Leighanne felt “helpless” when they found out.
“I remember when we got the report from the echocardiogram,” Brian recalled. “His EKG looked fabulous, but the [test] came back and his coronary artery was a 3.3 on the scale — your normal coronary artery in a child should be anywhere form .05 to .08.”
“It was a helpless situation,” Brian added.
The situation first revealed itself to the Littrell family after Baylee had to be hospitalized for what at first seemed to be flu like symptoms.
“Kawasaki, they call it the great mimicker, because it can mimic other diseases,” Brian told Shaun. “We didn’t really know what it was… turning into hand, foot and mouth disease, then it turned into bacterial infections, which is a herpes virus. It kept escalating and escalating and before we left the hospital, we had asked the cardiologist for echocardiogram on Baylee’s heart.”
As it turns out, it was Brian’s own health issue that caused him to be proactive about his son’s health.
“Baylee’s had been complaining since October of having small little chest pains,” Brian explained. “I was born with a heart murmur. [His echocardiogram] revealed that there was some inflammation of the coronary artery. What happens is Kawasaki goes directly to the coronary artery and causes it to be enflamed.”
But it was an inflammation for Baylee that doctors have since been able to reduce through what Brian calls a multi vitamin antibiotic.
“He’s doing well. He just graduated yesterday to his orange belt in karate. He missed a month of karate due to being low key, but we’re happy to have him back,” Brian said with a sense of relief. “He’s a normal 6-year-old and not limited in any way other than being monitored with his coronary artery.”
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