Normally, a heart condition is found in a child before they leave the hospital after birth.
Sometimes it takes a little longer to find there’s a problem.
It was an annual check-up that discovered a serious problem for a 3-year-old from Maize.
When Annie was born in January of 2015, doctors heard what they called a slight heart murmur.
Babies are born with an extra heart valve that closes on its own right after birth.
Annie’s hadn’t closed, but doctors let the family go home.
They soon forgot about that valve and assumed it had closed on its own until Annie’s 2-year check-up.
“It was interesting because we actually saw a P.A. for her two year physical, he listened to her heart and said, ‘So she has a considerable heart murmur!” remembers Annie’s mom Stacie Williamson.
That discovery got things moving quickly. Four days later the family was at Children’s Mercy in Wichita for tests and another week or so later doctors would perform a surgery in Kansas City that would seal off Annie’s extra heart valve.
“What if we had never found this?” Stacie asked. “What if we kept going in for all her regular checkups, everyone’s listening to her heart, no one’s hearing anything? She would have gone into cardiac arrest eventually and it probably would have killed her. And that just hit us. How did we not know this? How had no one heard this?” remembers Stacie.
The procedure went well.
Doctors were able to do the surgery laparoscopically by going through the femoral artery in Annie’s leg.
The fix should be permanent and Annie is already down to just a yearly visit with her cardiologist.
Annie’s case was a little tricky because oftentimes parents of kids with this similar condition have see low energy levels, blue lips indicating low blood flow and poor or picky eaters.
“We didn’t have any of those symptoms. Looking back there were a couple times her lips got a little blue but we thought, ‘It’s winter!’ And then it would go away,” explains Stacie.
Annie and her family don’t know what caused her heart condition but support the American Heart Association as they do the research to try and find out.
“I know there are studies taking place on why is this happening? Why is one child born with a heart defect and another not? And that’s why we’re thankful for the Heart Association for creating awareness around this. and educating people,” says Stacie.
Annie isn’t the first in her family with a heart defect.
She also has a young cousin who went through a series of heart complications.
Their entire family will participate in this year’s Wichita Heart Walk and F.A.S.T. 5K.
The event is the morning of Saturday, June 9th and you can find out how to join in by clicking here.