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SLY CRIES FOR HIS GIRL; Baby Sophia has hole in her heart.

Hollywood superstar Sylvester Stallone has been devastated by the news that his baby daughter needs heart surgery.

Doctors have discovered that two-month-old Sophia Rose has a hole in the heart.

The actor and his fiancee Jennifer Flavin found out three weeks ago in a routine check at the Miami hospital where she was born.

They had been concerned that Sophia, Stallone's first daughter, had not been gaining weight. She was 7lb 4oz when she was born in August and has only put on 5oz since.

A close friend of the couple said: "Sylvester and Jennifer have been told that the operation should rectify the problem and Sophia should be all right.

"But she is too tiny and frail for surgery yet. Doctors say they have to wait until she is at least 12lb before she can withstand the trauma of a major operation."

Jennifer was alone with Sophia in Miami when she found out as 50-year- old Sly was shooting his new film, Copland, in New York.

The friend said: "She rang Sylvester in tears and he flew them both up to join him and to get a second opinion from a New York specialist.

"Sylvester then took the child to the University of California Hospital in Los Angeles and the operation will be carried out there in about two months.

"I spoke to him last week and he said that he loved his child more than anything and he would move heaven and earth to ensure she got the best treatment possible.

"He said he would give every single thing he owns to give her a healthy life.

"When she was born he called her his little miracle.

"Now he says he is praying for a miracle to make her well."

Jennifer, 27, is caring for Sophia at home and the baby has been put on a special diet to try to build her up.

The twice-married Rambo star's desire for a girl was so strong that he blamed it for his split with Jennifer two years ago because she didn't feel ready for a child.

He helped deliver the baby and said afterwards: "I had tears in my eyes. I feel as though I have been reborn."

Sylvester has employed a nurse to monitor the baby around the clock at his Beverly Hills home and he has taken a break from his work schedule to be with her.

A hole in the heart is one of the most common congenital heart abnormalities affecting around 250 babies in every 100,000.

The abnormality develops before birth causing a hole in the partition between the left and right sides of the heart.

If the hole is large it can cause breathlessness, feeding difficulties, pale colour and sweating within six to eight weeks of birth.

Some types of holes become smaller or even close on their own as the child grows.

Others need open-heart surgery, but most affected children go on to lead perfectly normal lives.
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Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 31, 1996
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