Brave Hearts: How one Mom faces her daughter’s congenital heart disease

Finding out your child has congenital heart disease (CHD) can send you on an emotional roller coaster. “You can’t help but think, is this my fault? What did I do wrong?” says Jessica Nigrelli, whose daughter Avery was diagnosed with CHD when she was 16 months old. When Avery was a baby, she had an on-again, off-again heart murmur that was checked every three months. When the murmur persisted at 16 months, her primary care doctor recommended she see a cardiologist from Boston Children’s Hospital. At the Heart Center’s outpatient clinic in Waltham, Dr. Susan Saleeb discovered Avery’s atrial septal defect (ASD). An ASD is a hole in the wall that separates the heart’s upper two chambers, the left and right atria. The diagnosis shocked Jessica and spurred a great deal of anxiety. “Avery appeared healthy. Looking at her, you would never know anything was wrong,” Jessica says. The word ‘defect’ just sets off a million bells and alarms in your head. Processing that took some time.” Communicating with Avery’s doctors Having an open and honest dialogue with Saleeb helped Jessica stay strong and prepare for each next step in Avery’s treatment plan. “I would call her and she would talk to me for an hour,” says Jessica. “It felt like we were writing the story of what was going to happen. I asked her, ‘what would you do if it was your child?’ She told me Avery needed surgery, ...
Source: Thrive, Children's Hospital Boston - Category: Pediatrics Authors: Tags: Heart conditions cardiac surgery congenital heart disease Heart Center Source Type: news

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