Like many families, the reality of how fortunate we are to live near one of the country’s top ranked children’s hospitals was not something we ever really thought about. That all changed when Danno came into our lives.
During a routine ultrasound while I was pregnant with twins last year, the doctor discovered that the heart of one of the twins was not developing properly. We learned even before he was born that our son, Daniel (eventually nicknamed Danno after we all fell in love with our 2-year-old’s attempts to pronounce his baby brother’s name) had a congenital heart defect. The exact diagnosis was double outlet right ventricle with pulmonary atresia and a large ventricular septal defect. It’s a mouthful, and we were frightened, but knew we were in good hands at University of Michigan.
In early October, I was admitted to U-M’s Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital because my twin boys were beginning to show signs of distress. The doctors decided to deliver them on October 27 at 34 weeks gestational age.
After receiving care at Mott’s Congenital Heart Center, Buckeye fan Ivan Applin, 10, may have just a little room for Michigan in his heart.
As pediatric cardiologist Dr. Ronald Grifka showed 10-year-old Ivan Applin the wire-framed device that would be used to fix the holes in his heart, the Toledo fourth grader had just one burning concern.
“He asked if the Michigan doctors were going to make his heart love University of Michigan instead of Ohio State,” his mother Jennifer laughs.
No, he would wake up loving the Buckeyes just as much as he ever did, Dr. Grifka, assured him. The procedure would also mean he could better enjoy his favorite activities, like soccer, for many more years to come.
A cardiac catheterization is a procedure performed by a cardiologist to diagnose and often treat heart conditions. Many patients with congenital heart disease require cardiac catheterizations. During catheterization procedures, we use fluoroscopy to obtain real-time moving images of your heart.
Fluoroscopy is basically a series of x-rays that are played very quickly. It’s similar to how movies work – when the still images are played back quickly, they produces a moving image.
The fields of pediatric cardiology and cardiac surgery have come a long way. Today, conditions that were universally fatal as recent as 30 years ago can now be successfully treated, allowing children with congenital heart disease to thrive into adulthood.
However, we also know that there is much more work to be done to ensure that all children with heart disease have access to the highest quality care. One thing that is important is to be able to identify and learn from those hospitals with the best outcomes who are providing the highest pediatric heart care quality to children with heart disease.
When it comes to making decisions, the sad truth is it may seem easier for parents to choose a car seat, a refrigerator, even a house – than it is to feel like they’re making an informed decision about where to seek health care.
Making a decision about a hospital to literally entrust with your child’s heart can feel especially intimidating.
That’s why we’re particularly proud of having been awarded the Society of Thoracic Surgeons’ highest designation for pediatric heart surgery programs – the prestigious 3-star rating.
We have big plans in store for this year’s annual Save A Heart celebration, and we need your help!
Part of this year’s celebration will be a one-of-a-kind art display and auction to raise funds for the important work made possible through our Save A Heart fund. Your Little Victor could be one of our featured artists!
To be considered for one of a limited number of selected artist roles, please email a sample of your child’s artwork to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 22. Please include the child’s full name, age, and up to 75 words about your child’s CHD journey. You can send a scanned in image of your child’s artwork or a photo of your child’s artwork.
NOTICE: Except where otherwise noted, all articles are published under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license. You are free to copy, distribute, adapt, transmit, or make commercial use of this work as long as you attribute the University of Michigan Health System as the original creator and include a link to this article.