Stories about: heart

Solving Addison’s puzzle: Uncovering a congenital heart defect

Addison-on-bike-trail1Addison is a smart, sweet and caring child who brings a smile to everyone she meets. She is known for her hugs and frequently doles them out to anyone and everyone. She loves elephants—and her heart is elephant-sized! However, until last fall, Addison’s heart was causing mysterious and persistent medical issues that prevented her from doing all the things she loves. Unbeknownst to my husband and me, Addison was born with a congenital heart defect.

As a baby, Addison thrived but always seemed to have something going on. She had issues with reflux and did not enjoy tummy time or sleeping on her back. Waking several times during the night is not uncommon for a baby, but Addison seemed to be waking in pain every hour or two. When she was 9 months old, a GI specialist diagnosed her with reflux, and as she grew into a toddler, Addison developed significant respiratory issues, including a croupy cough. Now when she woke up during the night, it was with severe coughing fits.

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Long QT turns athlete into beauty queen

During my senior year of high school, the world as I knew it came crashing down. I’ll never forget that April evening in the year 2000—two years after collapsing at a track finish line—when I was officially diagnosed with Long QT syndrome, an inherited heart condition characterized by an abnormal heartbeat. My mom turned to me with tears streaming down her face, still on the phone with my electrophysiologist, who had just received the results. I was advised to avoid competitive sports.

No more playing basketball until the streetlights came on. No more racing my friends on the track. No more hopes to play Division I soccer. No more dreams coming true—the dreams of the little girl who wanted nothing more than to compete for the rest of her life.

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Have a heart healthy July 4th!

Happy Fourth of July from Boston Children’s Hospital! If you’re planning on firing up the grill and inviting family and friends to join you for a backyard barbeque this afternoon, why not create a few menu items that are both delicious and heart healthy? The following recipes were complied by the staff at Boston Children’s Heart Center, each a healthy twist on a traditional BBQ favorite. Enjoy!

Appetizer:  Low fat deviled eggs

Serving deviled eggs? Try low-fat cottage cheese for healthier take on a sinful treat.

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • 1/3 cup nonfat or low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh chives or scallion greens
  • 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Paprika for garnish

PREPARATION

  1. Halve eggs lengthwise with a sharp knife. Gently remove the yolks. Place 16 yolk halves in a food processor (discard the remaining 8 yolk halves). Add cottage cheese, mayonnaise, chives (or scallion greens), relish, mustard and salt; process until smooth.
  2. Spoon about 2 teaspoons yolk mixture into each egg white half. Sprinkle with paprika, if desired.

Tip: To hard-boil eggs, place them in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook at the barest simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, pour out hot water and cover the eggs with ice-cold water. Let stand until cool enough to handle before peeling.

Recipe originally found here.

SIDE DISH: Red, White and Blue Potato Salad

Mayonnaise may be a key ingredient in most potato salad recipes, but this heart-friendly version substitutes the mayo with olive oil—without skimping on taste.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds baby potatoes, a mix of white and blue (or purple)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup chopped roasted red peppers, rinsed
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herb (parsley, cilantro or mint)

PREPARATION

  1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan or Dutch oven and cover with lightly salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Transfer to a cutting board. Let cool for 20 minutes.
  2. Whisk lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Cut the potatoes in half, add to the bowl and toss to coat.
  3. Just before serving, add peppers, scallions and mint to the salad and toss gently.

TIP: Finish Step 3 just before serving. Add more lemon juice and/or salt to taste.

Recipe originally found here.

SIDE SALAD: Romaine, grilled avocado and smoky corn salad with chipotle-Caesar dressing

A refreshing side salad is a healthy alternative to potato chips and other junk foods. This salad is perfect for outdoor eating on a hot summer afternoon.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced canned chipotle chiles in adobo
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 ears of corn, shucked
  • 2 firm-ripe 6-to 8-ounces avocados, halved and pitted but not peeled
  • 1 head romaine (1 pound), tough outer leaves discarded and head quartered lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1-inch strips

PREPARATION

Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking over hot charcoal (high heat for gas). Put parmesan in a medium bowl and add olive oil in a slow stream, whisking. Whisk in lime juice, garlic, chipotles, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Rub vegetable oil on corn and cut sides of avocados, then season with 1/8 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Grill avocados, cut sides down, and corn, covered only if using a gas grill, turning corn occasionally, until golden-brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Peel avocados and thinly slice. Cut corn kernels from cobs. Toss romaine with dressing and serve topped with avocado and corn.

TIP: Corn and avocados can be grilled, in batches if necessary, in a lightly oiled hot grill pan over medium-high heat.

Recipe originally found here.

MAIN DISH: Lean Turkey Burgers

Turkey or chicken burgers can be up to 90% leaner than beef and often contains less fat. But just because it’s leaner doesn’t mean it needs to be any less juicy or tasty.

INGREDIENTS (makes 4 burger patties)

  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 1 (1 ounce) package of ranch dressing mix
  • 1 egg
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat and lightly oil the grate.
  2. Knead together the turkey, ranch mix, egg, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, seasoned salt and pepper in a bowl until evenly combined; divide into 4 equal portions and form into patties.
  3. Cook on the preheated grill about 5 minutes per side for well done. Add any veggie toppings you’d like. Try it on a whole-wheat bun with some fresh tomatoes, onions and lettuce.

Recipe originally found here.

Dessert: Flag Fruit Kabobs

Show your patriotic spirit with a healthy, flag-themed fruit spread.

INGREDIENTS

  • Fresh strawberries
  • Fresh Blueberries
  • Fresh Bananas
  • Kabob sticks

PREPARATION

Wash fruit and place on a paper towel to dry. Cut the stems off the strawberries, slice the bananas into sections of 5-6 pieces. Using a kabob stick, slide the fruit onto the stick—placing equal amounts of blueberries at the top of 5 kabobs—and arrange on a platter.

Recipe originally found here.

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For this heart patient, what goes around, comes around

Robin

When Robin Scott was a little girl, traveling back and forth to the hospital to be treated for her single ventricle heart defect, her mother, Susan, had a simple wish: “What I really wanted was to see an older child who had a heart defect … I wanted to see teenagers, adults … I wanted to see people who had a normal life.”

Funny how things work out. Today, Susan’s daughter is 30 years old and working at Boston Children’s Hospital—the same place she’s been receiving treatment since she was born. Robin, who recently transitioned to an analyst role in the Physicians’ Organization, previously worked in the Advanced Fetal Care Center (AFCC).  There, she was frequently asked to meet with fetal cardiac patients and their expectant parents, answering questions about her own experience and serving as a strong, healthy example of a congenital heart patient living a normal life.

Robin had volunteered at Boston Children’s as a teenager and had “always wanted to work at the hospital.” When a job opportunity came along in 2010, she took it. Strangely, Robin says that the job recruiters who helped place her at Boston Children’s did not know that she had been treated there, and her personal history had nothing to do with their hiring decision.

Today Robin is often in contact with doctors and nurses who care for heart patients, and they regularly ask for Robin’s help in answering questions from parents.

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