Sunday, April 13, 2008

Elle's Story

Elle MacPherson was born on September 29, 2005. In less than 24 hours after her birth, doctors noticed a load heart murmur. At less than a week old, Elle was taken to Primary Children's Hospital to see a pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Su. He took x-rays of her chest cavity, preformed an EKG and an echo cardiogram. She was found to have a large ventricular septal defect, or VSD among other defects in her heart. A VSD means that she had a large hole in her heart between the ventricles, or lower chambers. This allowed the already oxygenated blood on the right side of her heart to flow back into the left side of her heart through the hole. Thus, her body wasn't pumping out enough oxygenated blood. This caused her heart to work harder and enlarge to about 75% its normal size. We were told to watch for her to sweat profusely and breathe harder, even after doing the simplest of physical tasks. Her heart was going to have a hard time getting enough blood throughout the body and, as it continued to swell, the heart would put pressure on her lungs, making it more difficult to breathe.

We were told when this started happening, that she would be brought in for open heart surgery. This was expected to be before her first birthday. Dr. Su decided to wait until Elle was larger and stronger before performing the surgery. She was a really small child to begin with and he felt her condition would not cause her serious problems if we waited a month. We returned to Primary Childrens every month to see if her condition had changed or worsened, and decide when we would perform surgery. After 3 months of this, Dr. Su ordered another echo cardiogram and noticed something amazing! A small flap of tissue inside her heart had fallen over the hole and decreased its size dramatically. Her heart remained enlarged, but he decided to wait until Elle was almost a year old before deciding on surgery. At her one year mark, the doctors found her hole was now very small, the murmur was very soft, and though her heart was a bit large still, they felt she could be fine without surgery possibly!

Elle is now almost 3 years old and has more energy and life than any other child I have ever met. She shows no symptoms of her previous condition and we are down to annual visits with her doctor. I simply cannot say enough of the wonderful care and treatment we received from Primary Children's Hospital, Dr. Su and her many nurses.