Darby's Heart Defect
Darby's pediatrician detected a heart "murmur" when Darby was one week old, and the following week an echocardiogram revealed she had been born with a congenital heart defect called "Tetralogy of Fallot."
Tetralogy of Fallot accounts for 10% of all congenital heart defects and is the most common cyanotic heart defect. At birth, Darby's heart had four problems:
1. Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD) - This is a hole between the left and right ventricles which allows a mixing of oxygen-depleted blood and oxygen-rich blood.
2. Pulmonary stenosis - This is a narrowing of the pulmonary trunk.
3. Overriding Aorta - The aorta overrides the ventricular septal defect causing the aorta to take up oxygen-depleted blood and pump it back out into the body.
4. Hypertrophy - The right ventricle becomes enlarged (more muscular) because it has to work harder due to the pulmonary stenosis.
This text book description tells you what is wrong, but not how it is fixed.
Darby spent nine days recovering in the intensive care unit, followed by a day in the step-down unit before going home.
Darby is now eight years old and in third-grade.
Her annual cardiac check-ups show no problems, and she continues to be happy and active. She has started taking guitar lessons and still plays the piano. This year she joined the swim team and is looking forward to playing soccer again in the fall.
Darby is an active volunteer for the American Heart Association and has appeared on local radio and cable TV stations and a local hospital to promote fund raising for an organization that is very near and dear to her heart.
Along the way, Darby has met many people that have become good friends, including host Jo Painter at Berks County radio station, WEEU.
Darby joined Jo Moon and Jim Catanach of the American Heart Association - Berks Division on air at WEEU.