Throughout the year, our blog will feature AHA volunteer stories of survival and hope. We know there are thousands of stories like these - thats why we want to say “Thanks” to all of you for giving your time and sharing your lives with us. You can’t spell CURE without U! Thank you for all you do to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular disease and stroke. YOU’RE THE CURE!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hole In Heart: Girl, 3, Saved After Surgery

From WCCO CBS Website...

When Maggie was born doctors found a heart murmur.

More than half of all children have a heart murmur at some time in their lives.

Most heart murmurs are nothing serious. However, sometimes they are a warning sign of a bigger problem. That's what happened to 3-year-old Maggie Wood, but thanks to surgery, she's not letting it slow her down.

Maggie is back on the ice doing what she loves to do -- skating with the women's Gopher hockey team. Her Dad, Jamie Wood, is the assistant coach, so she likes having fun on the ice with the team.

"She had begun to get a little bit tired. When she first was born because I think her body was so small her heart could compensate for it pretty well, but now that she's getting a little bit bigger she was starting to feel more and more tired," said Jamie Wood.

When Maggie was born doctors found a heart murmur.

"They gave her an echo at birth and told us she's fine, it's nothing. And at 6 months they retested and said 'yes, she has ASD,'" said her mom, Carie Wood.

Atrial septal defect (ASD) basically means there's a hole between the upper two chambers of the heart.

"It's not something where kids usually have a lot of symptoms," said Dr. Dan Grunstein, who is with the University of Minnesota's Amplatz Children's Hospital and performed surgery on Maggie two months ago.

"We did not have to touch her chest. We didn't have to cut into her heart, and her heart was beating and circulating her own blood during the entire procedure," said Grunstein.

Video from the actual surgery shows that it starts by inserting a tiny wire into place through Maggie's blood vessels.

"Under x-ray guidance, remove that catheter into her heart and across the hole and we used a small metal patch in order to close the hole," said Grunstein.

Maggie's Mom had similar heart repair when she was 4 years old, but back then the surgery was much more complicated and risky.

Doctor's said she only had a 50-50 chance of surviving the surgery.

"I had the open heart surgery. They go right through the chest and what not, and we were planning on, I think, going with that procedure until we met up with people at the University of Minnesota," said Carie Wood.

Maggie's grandma recently found out she has the condition too.

"Not all ASD are hereditary, but certainly there are some families that have been identified that do have multiple family members with ASD," said Grunstein.

Grandma is still trying to decide whether to get the surgery, but considering it only took about 10 minutes to put the device into Maggie's heart, she might go through with it.

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