History and Background

History: The Michael H. Ludwig Memorial Foundation was started in 2007 to honor and remember Michael Ludwig, a happy, healthy, and active nine-and-a-half year old boy.

Michael died unexpectedly and suddenly in a pediatric intensive care unit fifteen hours after suffering a seizure while playing touch football with several friends. It was only after his death that we found out he was born with a congenital heart defect: an anomalous origin of the left coronary artery, which is the second leading cause of sudden death among young athletes.

Michael was misdiagnosed with “exercise-induced asthma.” After several months, Michael’s mother Lisa suspected that asthma wasn’t the reason for his chest pain and fatigue, which would intermittently occur while running around playing sports. After seeing a second pediatric pulmonologist who disagreed with the asthma diagnosis, Michael was taken off all asthma medication.

Michael was later seen by two pediatric cardiologists. Despite an extensive work-up involving numerous EKGs, a two-hour echocardiogram, a 24- hour holtor monitor, and a cardiac stress test only eleven days before his death, doctors were unable to diagnose his rare defect. He was cleared for sports less than two weeks before he died.

In the wake of the unimaginable, Michael’s parents created the Michael H. Ludwig Memorial Foundation to help prevent similar tragedies.