Monday, February 14, 2011

CHD Awareness

Today ends a week long event - trying to raise awareness for Congenital Heart Defects.   Having two heart kiddos, this is a cause that is near and dear to my own heart.  What better day to talk about it, than on Valentine's day?  It's filled with love and hearts to begin with!

The problem with CHDs is that it's scary.. Very scary.  No one wants to read about it, no one wants to have to deal with it.  We are screened throughout our pregnancies for various possible issues- Down Syndrome is a big one. 

Still, pregnant women are not routinely tested and newborns are not routinely screened for the the number-one birth defect and the leading cause of birth defect-related deaths worldwide - Congenital Heart Defects.

1 in every 125 babies is born with a CHD every year in the US alone!

CHDs kill twice as many children as childhood cancer!

Yet there isn't a cure.  We need to raise awareness! We need to demand more research! We need to demand every pregnant woman be routinely tested and that EVERY newborn be thoroughly screened!

CHDs children can lead long health lives.  They just need the chance.

Fishing Pole was born at what we assume was full term.  He had very little prenatal care.  He was born with two congenital heart defects - 

1. PDA (Patent ductus arteriosus ) which is a relatively common CHD estimated 8 in every 1,000 preterm births & 2 in 1,000 full-term births.  Before birth, the two major arteries—the aorta and the pulmonary (PULL-mun-ary) artery—are connected by a blood vessel called the ductus arteriosus. This vessel is an essential part of fetal blood circulation. Within minutes or up to a few days after birth, the vessel is supposed to close as part of the normal changes occurring in the baby's circulation.  In some babies, however, the ductus arteriosus remains open (patent). This opening allows oxygen-rich blood from the aorta to mix with oxygen-poor blood from the pulmonary artery. This can put strain on the heart and increase blood pressure in the lung arteries.

2. Double Aortic Arch resulting in a Vascular Ring which is an uncommon anomaly which makes up less than 1% of all congenital cardiac defects.  In layman terms, basically his aorta went a little crazy when it was being formed and was wrapped around his trachea and esophagus..

Thankfully for us, both of Fishing Pole's CHDs were surgically corrected at 3months of age.  His pacemaker is for a completely different matter entirely.   Our lives are firmly rooted in being the parents of *heart* kids. 

Help raise some awareness!



  1. Yay Tara! I'm so glad! See, I raised awareness in at least one person today :)


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