Every year, 100,000 babies don't make it to their first birthday because of CHD.
Cash Alexander Banks | Heart Warrior of the Week

Name: Cash Alexander Banks

Defect: Ventricular Sepal Defect (VSD)

Birthday: February 11, 2015

Described in a few words: a silly and brilliant little genius

Cash’s story, as told by his Mom, Christal:

After having what I thought was a perfectly healthy and normal pregnancy, I gave birth to my son and all signs still pointed to him being healthy and ready to come home.  We were hours away from leaving the hospital when his new pediatrician said, “I think I hear something, let’s get the cardiologist just to be sure.”  Of course these were scary words to hear, but we thought our doctor was just being overly cautious.  The pediatric cardiologist confirmed that he also heard a murmur and scheduled him to come into his office as soon as possible. After some tests, it was discovered that he had two medium sized holes in his heart – both ventricular septal defects

Cash has had one major open-heart surgery to patch the holes at five-months-old.  We travelled from our home in Alabama to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Tennessee where Dr. Bret Metler was our surgeon. Without the diagnosis and repair he would have eventually failed to thrive and would have had dire consequences as a result. Cash spent just four days in the hospital after his surgery to recover, he truly is a fighter and a warrior!

Today he is a healthy, happy, little boy and faces no restrictions, a true miracle! We’re relieved to know he doesn’t have any more surgeries in his near future, and just goes in for yearly cardiology check-ups.

In the time since his surgery, I’ve gotten used to him being healthy; he hardly ever even gets a cold. Despite his consistent help, I can’t stop my mind from worrying about the possibility of having bad yearly appointment where they tell me he needs another surgery.

Cash is such an inspiration to me; he puts his all into everything.  He didn’t just learn his alphabet at a young age - he kept at it until he was reading. He wasn’t satisfied learning one planet - he learned them all. He succeeds in anything he puts his mind to and I want to do the same. I am so grateful for those doctors who diagnosed and repaired my son’s precious heart that now I do my best to spread awareness for other families.  Without that diagnosis, my child likely wouldn’t be here.

To those families, I say this… There is sunshine after a storm.  I have proof.  I want to give hope to other parents facing an uncertain future.  At the point of his diagnosis, it felt as if life had stopped for me, and I lived those five months between diagnosis and surgery as if there was no future.  I regret that because my son has been and will always be truly living, and I want to do the same!


About Cash's Defect - Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)

Anatomy: This defect occurs when the heart’s inner wall (septum) that separates the left ventricle from the right ventricle has a hole or multiple holes in it.

Complications: This hole allows oxygen-rich blood from the left ventricle to mix with oxygen-poor blood from the right ventricle, resulting in a lack of oxygen circulating throughout the body.

Symptoms: Bluish tint (cyanosis) to the skin, lips, and fingernails, along with poor feeding, poor weight gain, and fast breathing.

Treatment: Most VSD’s close on their own with time, but larger ones will require catheterizations or open-heart surgery in which a patch is placed over the hole.

Prevalence: This is the most common CHD, accounting for 25-30% of all congenital heart disease. It occurs in 2-5 out of every 1000 live births worldwide.

August 30, 2019 by Lani O'Gorman

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