Every year, 100,000 babies don't make it to their first birthday because of CHD.
Kaeson Switch Edward Read | Heart Warrior of the Week

Save the Heartbeat Fam, meet Kaeson Switch Edward Read, your Heart Warrior of the Week!

Kaeson is doing well now after one heart procedure and one open-heart surgery, but like so many who battle CHD, his journey to this point has been marked with many ups and downs. His Mom, Kelsi, got the dreaded news that so many fear at her 21 week anatomy scan – there was something off with her baby’s heart. She was referred to a high-risk obstetrician who performed a fetal echo and Kaeson was misdiagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot. To better prepare for his birth, the family was sent to Children’s Mercy in Kansas City where doctors correctly diagnosed him with D-Transposition of the Arteries (TGA) at 26 weeks.

Kaeson was born on February 12th, 2013 and has been a courageous, strong, and independent fighter ever since! He first underwent a balloon septostomy that was done immediately after his birth; this is a common procedure for D-TGA babies that opens up or widens a hole in the heart between the two upper chambers to keep the oxygenated blood mixing and going to the body. This procedure is essential to sustain life until doctors perform the atrial switch open-heart surgery, which was done on Kaeson just days later. The aorta and pulmonary arteries are cut at the bottom and switched to their correct positions and the ASD that the balloon septostomy created is patched.

During all of this, Kaeson spent around 3 weeks in the hospital but his parents are happy to report that he is currently on no medications, faces no restrictions at this point, and has no future surgeries or procedures scheduled. But of course, as is common with many CHDers, there is always a possibility that he will need more interventions as he grows and his heart changes.

While this little Heart Warrior is stable right now, there are still always worries that come along with being a heart kid. You never know how a simple virus that clears up on its own for most will affect him or what challenges he will encounter in the future.

Kelsi says that she is inspired by her son’s strength and drive to live life to the fullest. She adds, “Kaeson is a very outgoing and caring young boy, he doesn’t let his condition affect him or define him.”

About Kaeson’s Heart Defect

Anatomy: The aorta connects to the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery to left ventricle, just the opposite of a normal anatomy.

Complications: Because of this abnormal connection, deoxygenated blood is re-circulated to the body before it has a chance to pick up oxygen from the lungs. At the same time, oxygen-rich blood is continuously being pumped from the heart to the lungs in a cyclical pattern, never dispersing the oxygenated blood throughout the body.  This leaves the body with dangerously low oxygen levels.

Symptoms: Blue color of the skin (cyanosis), shortness of breath, lack of appetite, poor weight gain or weight loss.

Treatment: Often times, a balloon procedure via catheterization is performed to enlarge or create the above mentioned hole shortly after birth to improve the baby’s oxygen levels. The repair for TGA is an open-heart surgery where doctors surgically place the aorta and pulmonary valve in their proper positions, called the arterial switch. This surgery usually takes place at around one week old.

Prevalence: d-TGA accounts for approximately 5% of all congenital heart defects, affecting boys more than girls at a rate of 3:1. It occurs in 2-5 out of 10,000 live births worldwide.

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