(08/30/13) - A warning now for expectant mothers: one in every 100 newborns has
a heart problem. Typically, these babies are treated with the same devices used
in adults, but that could soon change.
Little Vivian Andorf had her first heart surgery when she was just two hours old.
"She's missing one chamber of her hear. Veins going from her lungs to her heart, they are progressively narrow," says her mother, Margaret.
So far, Margaret says, Vivian's had seven surgeries and six cauterizations. "I've seen the caths and they're just these big long tubes and you just can't imagine how they get in."
"Most of the equipment that we use was designed and developed and produced for adults," says Dr. Alex Golden, a pediatric cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic.
Imagine a wire the size of the cord on your headphones, snaking through a tiny baby, Golden says, "we gain more info about how the last surgery went and how the next surgery should go."
Using adult-sized catheters, doctors can damage access vessels in the groin and cause a blockage. Dr. Golden is the first pediatric cardiologist in the country to use a newly approved cath for kids.
"Having a cath that is 20 percent smaller than the smallest one we were using previously, I think, that's a great benefit," the doctor adds.
"It feels like we have so much hope," Margaret says.
Hope that a newborn given just a five percent chance of survival will beat the odds. Vivian has one more surgery planned this year. The new catheter is the first to be approved, just for children, in the United States.
ABC12 Main Station