Incredible Recovery of a Newborn With Seven Congenital Heart Defects
During the fourth week of pregnancy, the human heart begins to develop. It begins as a single tube that lengthens and eventually twists. A wall then divides that upper and lower heart chambers, and four valves develop. Many genetic and environmental factors can affect the normal development of the heart muscle, causing a congenital heart defect or defects. Scottish parents Chris and Ashley Pendleton received unwelcome news about congenital heart defects during the week 20 pregnancy scan for their first child.
Seven Heart Defects
Over the last couple of decades, ultrasound imaging advancements have made it possible to diagnose heart malformations between the 12th and 20th week of pregnancy. This helped to doctors and parents to take time to formulate a treatment plan. During the scan for Harry Pendleton his parents learned that their son had seven heart defects, including a large hole in his heart. Immediately after his birth, he was taken to intensive care. Seven days after his birth, he received his first major surgery.
Holes in the Heart
Holes in the heart occur with the inner wall in the heart does not close correctly. The two sides of the heart must be separate in order to keep oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor blood from mixing. While holes in the heart are relatively simple defects, Harris’s condiction was complicated by other congenital malformations, such as his coarctation of the aorta.
A Narrowed Aorta
Coarctation of the aorta is a term used to describe a narrowed aorta. His aorta was so narrowed that it restricted the flow of blood, and his heart had to work hard to force blood through the aorta. In addition to the hole in his heart and the narrowed aorta, Harris also had several valves that pumped in the wrong direction. Most of Harris’s defects are common on their own, but it is very rare for a baby to be born with all of them at once.
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A Remarkable Recovery
However, little Harris Pendleton impressed his doctors with his incredible recovery. Doctors and surgeons had predicted that Harris would need to be kept at the Glasgow hospital for at least six months after his first surgery, but he was well enough to return to his home in Edinburgh in two weeks’ time. His second surgery was postponed for three months due to several illnesses, including a cold, a urinary tract infection, and swine flu.
The Second Surgery
In May of this year, Harris underwent his second surgery at 11 months old. This detailed, marathon procedure took surgeons 15 hours to complete. Harris is recovering very well from the surgery, and he may require another surgery to install a permanent pacemaker.
Congenital defects are often treated with invasive surgeries. Because of amazing medical advancements, most congenital heart defects can be treated. Mr. and Mrs. Pendleton have set up a fundraising page for the charities who helped them financially through this stressful time. They quickly raised over £1000 for these organizations, and have since expanded their goal. Their current aim is to raise £2,500 for the Zak Scot Brave Heart Foundation, the Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity, and the Ronald Macdonald charity.