Congenital Heart Disease – Fixing the tiniest hearts
Heart disease doesn’t only affect adults, as new mom Shateria Chambers is learning firsthand.
Her daughter Karmen was born with an interrupted aortic arch (IAA), a rare heart condition that occurs when the aorta doesn’t form properly and affects blood flow to the body, and a large hole in her heart called a ventricular septal defect (VSD). At just one week of age, Karmen underwent an interrupted aortic arch repair and ventricular septal defect closure surgery at Medical City Children’s Hospital.
“I found this hospital at just the right time to help my firstborn child, and I’m glad I did.” – Shateria Chambers
Congenital heart defects, problems with the structure of the heart that are present when a baby is born, affect approximately one in 100 births every year in the U.S. according to the CDC.
“The good news is that many babies diagnosed with congenital heart disease go on to live long and completely healthy lives,” says Kristine J. Guleserian, MD, Director of the Congenital Heart Surgery Program at Medical City Children’s Hospital and baby Karmen’s surgeon. “The skill of the surgeon correcting the heart defect and the medical team providing care for the patient are incredibly important for a successful recovery.”
No advance warning
Shateria had no idea her daughter would be born with these congenital heart defects. Shortly after Karmen was born, her heart rate increased and her breathing became rapid. Her doctors heard a murmur and a heart ultrasound revealed the defects that required heart surgery.
Many babies have symptoms to indicate a heart defect, however some babies have no signs of a heart problem at all after they are born. In those who do, symptoms can be:
- A bluish tint to the skin, fingernails, and lips (this is caused by a lack of oxygenated blood)
- Fast or noisy breathing
- Fast heart rate
- Poor feeding and/or poor weight gain
- Excessive fatigue
- Cool feet
- Lung infections
Thanks to expert pediatric heart surgery and skilled intensive care following surgery, Karmen is thriving after a full recovery and is already enjoying a normal childhood.
“I have always heard great things about Medical City Children’s Hospital,” says Chambers. “I found this hospital at the just the right time to help my first born child, and I’m glad I did.”