Kid’s Coronary heart Defect Makes Dad and mom An Emotional Curler Coaster Trip, Albuquerque Journal
Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal
Shock, fear, and fear overwhelmed Tim and Kelsey Hanks of Los Lunas when they learned that their young daughter’s heart murmur was an indication of a potentially life-threatening defect.
Peyton, their fourth child, was born with a narrowing of the aorta, a narrowing of the artery that allows blood to flow to the body.
“We were devastated,” said Tim Hanks.
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Kelsey Hanks said her three older children were born healthy and there were no signs of a problem during pregnancy or delivery.
At first, the staff at the Presbyterian Hospital Downtown thought that the baby could be fine without intervention. But when they took little Peyton for a check-up after 3 weeks, she was taken to the pediatric intensive care unit for surgery.
Those first few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster ride for the family, said Tim Hanks. They were grateful for the support they received from the hospital staff.
“It was like one of those things that happen to other people,” he said. “But we found out that so many kids went through this. It opened up a whole new world for us. “
The operation to repair the aorta was successful. Peyton is a very active 2 year old now. On a recent visit to the hospital playroom, she was busy riding a rocking horse and hopping around with balls.
Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect and occur in about 1 percent of babies born in the United States each year, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Among these defects, aortic narrowing is one of the most common, said Dr. William Stein, Pediatric Thoracic Surgeon with Presbyterian Heart and Cardio Vascular Care. He said doctors at Presbyterian perform approximately 10-15 surgeries each year to correct this problem.
The operation on a vessel with a diameter of 4 millimeters is also one of the more difficult operations, according to Stein. Surgeons must clamp the vessel during surgery; This means that they have to work quickly to avoid damage to vital organs from insufficient blood flow. However, working too quickly can endanger the sensitive tissue of the heart.
“It’s like sewing wet tissue paper back together. It doesn’t tolerate a lot of mistakes, ”said Stein.
About 10 percent of operated on infants may re-narrow the aorta due to scarring as they grow. This condition can usually be treated with a minimally invasive procedure, he said.
During their ordeal, Tim and Kelsey Hanks learned about an organization that supports families with a child with a congenital heart defect. Leslee Schneider and Brittany Behenna Griffith, who started the Lexiam Heart Foundation about a year ago, both gave birth to babies with heart defects.
“We wanted to create a foundation to connect families who have the same problems,” said Schneider.
Schneider’s daughter was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a condition in which the left side of the heart was underdeveloped. Her child had three surgeries before her fourth birthday, so the family had to travel to Denver.
The foundation raises money to help families who need to travel. They give fuel cards, gift cards for restaurants or help with plane tickets. They also send memorial gifts to families who have lost children.
Lexiam will hold painting and drinking fundraisers in five New Mexico communities to help raise awareness about congenital heart defects. The event in Albuquerque takes place on February 7th. Details and tickets are available on the Lexiam Heart Foundation Facebook page.
For more information on how to donate or request services from the Lexiam Foundation, please visit: www.LexiamHeartFoundation.org.