Stories about: atrial septal defects

Our patients’ stories: saving “princess” Emily

By Paul Schuster

Emily

Our daughter Emily’s heart defect wasn’t discovered until she was nearly 3 years old. In hindsight, we now know that her numerous illnesses and bouts of pneumonia were a sign that something wasn’t right, but until her diagnosis, we never suspected anything serious. She always had plenty of liveliness and certainly kept us busy with her antics—dancing or singing or getting Daddy to play princess with her… again.

By all counts, she was just our happy, energetic little girl.

Then, during a routine doctor’s visit, a nurse said she heard a murmur in Emily’s heartbeat. We didn’t think too much of it at the time, my wife Carol has a heart murmur, so a second murmur in the family didn’t cause too much worry. However, after the echocardiogram that provided clear images of her heart, we began to understand the gravity of our situation: Emily had a hole in her heart.

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One patient’s story: our baby’s multiple heart defects

Roman was born with several heart defects, which required intensive medical attention and surgery

My husband Tim and I had been unsuccessfully trying for another baby for some time. Then, right around Mother’s Day, we got the present we’d been hoping for, a positive pregnancy test. The first few months were filled with joy and anticipation, but a scheduled ultrasound during my 19th week changed everything. The sonogram showed our son had a heart defect. As an intensive care nurse married to a physician, I knew how dangerous this could be. When they administered my amniocentesis— a test for genetic disorders that may be the cause of our baby’s heart condition—I was so numb that I didn’t even feel the needle go in me. The results showed no traceable cause; a twist of fate with no scientific reason.

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