Did you know:
-Congenital heart defects are the most common types of birth defects in children. In fact, nearly 1 out of every 100 babies in the U.S. is born with a congenital heart defect each year. In 2012, about 1 million babies will be diagnosed with CHD worldwide.
-Congenital heart defects are approximately 60 time more prevalent than childhood cancer and are the leading cause of death in the first year of life.
In honor of our little heart man (a.k.a. our Heart Hero!):
(p.s. this picture cracks me up! His first real time playing in the snow!! 5 months post-OHS)
We are hoping to increase awareness and educate as many people as possible so that early diagnosis and care may result.
The more common heart birth defects are:
-Patent ductus arteriosus -- an artery that does not close as it is supposed to
-Septal defect -- hole that allows oxygenated and un-oxygenated blood to mix (EIV had 2 of these!)
-Heart valve defects -- valves do not open and close normally
-Coarctation of the aorta -- narrowing of the aorta
This is the short list, there are actually many, many more. Heart defects are as varied as the children who have them. Many can be fixed surgically (PRAISE GOD!); others have symptoms that are controlled with medications.
These defects can be caused by many environmental factors or genetics, however most causes remain unknown.
Symptoms to watch for in children:
-recurring respiratory infection
-shortness of breath
-complaints of 'funny' feelings in the chest area
-paleness, especially after exertion
-bluish lips, fingers or nail beds
-irregular heart beat
-poor eating (especially in infants)Report any symptoms to your doctor, and ask for a cardiology check. Some symptoms are so mild that a diagnosis of a congenital defect is made during teen or even early adult years. However, these symptoms can mean an undiagnosed disaster for a child. Make sure you report them to a doctor even if they seem temporary or come and go.
There are many, many great web-resources to learn more about CHDs.
A couple I recommend are:
The American Heart Association:
Mended Little Hearts:
We are so, so blessed, as EIV's defects were corrected with open-heart surgery. For many children, that may not be the case. Please spread the word about CHD. Please pray for the millions of families affected by CHD. Please give of your time or resources to help these children and families.
I thank God each and every day for our little heart miracle! I thank God for Dr. Duncan and the fabulous cardio team at Children's hospital in Omaha.
Remember.....'Mended Hearts are Special Hearts"