Every year, 100,000 babies don't make it to their first birthday because of CHD.
heart warrior

Our Heart Warrior of the Week is Lana Lux Vela!  Lana and her fraternal twin sister, Leia, were born on October 18th, 2016.  At six week old, Lana was diagnosed with ventricular septal defect and atrial septal defect at a routine check-up appointment.  Lana has not undergone any surgeries thus far, doctors will reassess her condition later this month to determine what the best course of action for her treatment is.  If the swelling on the left side of her heart hasn’t improved, she may need to undergo open-heart surgery to correct the problem.  Lana’s mom, Emily, says their family faces growing anxiety and fear thinking about the possibility of their little girl having to face a major surgery.  Lana has to take furosemide twice a day which is used to treat fluid retention, preventing your body from absorbing too much salt.

Lana’s parents describe her as  a strong and sassy chatterbox who is very social!

chd awareness

About Lana’s Heart Conditions

Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD)

A normal heart has an inner wall (septum) that separates the two lower chambers of the heart.  This septum prevents oxygenated and non-oxygenated blood from mixing between the two sides of the heart.  A VSD is a hole in the septum between the heart’s two lower chambers, called ventricles.  The hole allows oxygen-rich blood in the left ventricle to mix with oxygen-poor blood in the right ventricle, causing higher pressure in the heart or reduced oxygen to the body.

Normally, the left side of the heart only pumps blood to the body and the heart’s right side only pumps blood to the lungs.  With VSD, blood can travel across the hole from the left ventricle to the right ventricle and out into the lung’s arteries.  If the VSD is large, the extra blood being pumped into the lung’s arteries makes the heart and lungs work harder and the lungs can become congested.

Smaller VSD’s can close on their own as the child grows, while larger ones usually require surgical repair.  The most common operation involves placing a patch over the hole, which prevents shunting – the movement of oxygenated blood from the left to the right ventricle.

This is the most common type of CHD, occurring in 1 to 3 out of every 1000 births; it is more common in premature births.  VSD accounts for 25-30% of all CHD’s.  If it is left untreated, it can cause pulmonary hypertension which can result in lung disease.  VSD can also lead to a serious illness called bacterial endocarditis, an infection affecting the inner lining of the heart. 

ventricular septal defect

Atrial Septal Defect (ASD)

An atrial septal defect is a hole in the wall between the two upper chambers of the heart (atria).  Large and long-standing ASD’s can damage your heart and lungs while small defects may never cause a problem at all.  An adult who has had an undetected ASD may have a shortened life span from heart failure or high blood pressure that affects the arteries in the lungs. Which is why early detection is so important.  Like VSD, ASD is one of the most common types of congenital heart defects, almost 2000 babies are born with this condition in the U.S. every year.

Atrial septal defect

Sources: heart.org, mayoclinic.org

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