Smiling through it all: Cade’s story of heart surgery and resilience
Cade was born with Down syndrome and a hole in his heart. From prenatal monitoring to open heart surgery, his doctors in Dallas and Tyler worked together to provide the best care.
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Finley's story: Heartfelt care all across Texas
Lesley and Ricardo couldn’t wait for their first child to be born. They were in the process of selling their house in Dallas to move closer to family in Houston. Then things got complicated.
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Millie’s story: Expert heart care with a little help from a stuffed snowman
At 8-years-old, Millie’s mom describes her as a force of nature. She’s in her school’s gifted and talented program, part of the student council and loves playing soccer and basketball.
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From cancer and heart failure to happy, energetic kid
At 2-years-old, Grant is so energetic that his parents, Wesley and Shanna, can barely keep up. He loves basketball, playing his toy drums and guitar, and climbing on everything. You’d never guess that just a few months earlier, he was fighting for his life.
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After open-chest surgery for pectus excavatum, Cody becomes unstoppable
Cody is an active baseball player and fisherman who will go head-to-head with an 8-pound bass any day of the week. But when Cody's cardiologist told him he’d likely need to have his chest opened up for surgery, he admits it sounded terrifying.
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Ava isn’t letting open heart surgeries stand in her way
Ava doesn’t remember her first two open-heart surgeries, which took place before her first birthday. But she won’t forget her third heart surgery and neither will her surgeon, Robert Jaquiss, M.D., Division Director of Pediatric and Congenital Cardiothoracic Surgery, Co-Director of The Heart Center at Children’s HealthSM and Professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center. That’s because the surgery, which took place in 2021, made Ava one of the first patients to receive a groundbreaking heart valve that could lead to a new chapter in medical history.
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Noah finds support at Children's Health after Fontan surgery
Olivia was 26 weeks pregnant when she learned that her unborn son, Noah, had hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a congenital heart defect critically affecting the left side of his heart.
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A single ventricle defect leads Harper to Children's Health
When Brittany went in for her 20-week anatomy scan during her pregnancy with her daughter Harper, she and her husband, Ben, didn't expect to see anything out of the ordinary. Even when the technician had difficulties seeing all four chambers of Harper's heart, the couple was told not to be too concerned and that maybe it was just the way she was positioned in the womb at the time. The couple scheduled a follow-up sonogram with a specialist four weeks later. It was an appointment Brittany and Ben will never forget.
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Zeke runs with heart
At 13 years old, Zeke's life has already been full of adventure. He spent most of his early years living in a remote mountain village in Papua New Guinea as the child of missionaries. He enjoyed an active childhood, running through fields and mountain trails with his siblings and friends and playing sports, like football.
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A family finds answers and support for brothers with muscular dystrophy
When Daniel was 5 years old, he began experiencing chronic stomach pain and had difficulty walking after playing for a particularly long period of time. Believing that he may have a food-related allergy, his pediatrician referred Daniel to Isabel Rojas, M.D., Pediatric Gastroenterologist at Children’s Health℠ and Assistant Professor at UT Southwestern.
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High blood pressure reveals a heart defect in an active football player
John and his twin brother, William, have always been active. Whether they were running around outside as children, playing baseball or showing their strength as linebackers on their high school's varsity football team, if there's one word to describe them, it's athletic.
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Born just hours apart, three heart warriors form an unshakeable bond
For many expecting parents, the 20-week anatomy scan is when they find out their baby's sex, count their fingers and toes, and leave with ultrasound images to show friends and family. But for three couples, Seher and Sayeed, Ashley and Kelly, and Leah and Eric, the appointment brought unexpected news that would change their lives and bring their three families together.
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Georgie finds expert care for a single ventricle heart defect
Before he was even born, Georgie had a team of doctors waiting to meet him and care for him. He had been diagnosed with a single ventricle heart defect, meaning he was missing one of the four chambers of his heart. The team at the Children's Health℠ FETAL Center worked with his mother, Jessica, to make a plan for his birth and treatment.
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Abby's new heart gives her a second chance
Abby was just 12 years old when a suspected stomach bug sent her to the emergency room at the local hospital in Waxahachie.
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Harper's strength shines after a first-of-a-kind heart procedure
When Harper was 4 days old, her NICU nurse flagged a heart murmur that needed attention. An echocardiogram confirmed that the newborn had several complex congenital heart defects. Candice, a first-time mom, worked as a patient technician in her late teens to explore a career in health care. Today, she is a full-time employee at Children's Health℠. Even so, she remembers feeling overwhelmed by Harper's diagnosis.
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Riley survives heart failure and shows her strength
When Riley was 7 years old, she caught a cold. It was the same cold her three sisters had come down with. But as Riley's sisters quickly got better, she struggled to recover.
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A lifesaving new heart for baby Miles
From the day he was born, little Miles was a fighter. This precious baby boy came into the world with a broken collar bone. Then, when he was about 4 weeks old, his mother, Mariah, and father, Javier, noticed something else was not right.
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LJ survives sudden cardiac arrest with a determined spirit
At 13 years old, LJ was an active, healthy student-athlete from Paris, Texas. He played football and basketball, was in the school's marching band and had the usual teenage aspirations – get a job, save up for a car and hang out with friends.
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A mom and daughter face the same congenital heart defect
When asked to describe themselves, one word that comes up for Carrie and Brant is "family oriented." Much of the Grapevine, Texas, couple's lives revolve around their 1-year-old daughter Caroline, and they enjoy spending time with relatives in the Dallas metroplex. Given their health journey, they also consider a dedicated cardiology team as part of that extended family – including a father and son physician duo who have been in Carrie's life since she was born.
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Support for Rowan's special heart
Before Rowan was even born, her parents knew she and her heart were special. At 23 weeks, an ultrasound revealed Rowan had several congenital heart defects. Imaging showed the growing baby had double outlet right ventricle, a category of congenital heart disease where both of the arteries that come out of the heart come from the same pumping chamber. She also had a large ventricular septal defect (a hole in the wall of the heart) and mild pulmonary artery stenosis (narrowing of the artery that travels from the heart to the lung).
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Amber finds care for congenital heart disease as an adult
Growing up, Amber knew she was different than other kids. When they would run and play, she would get tired and had a hard time keeping up.
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Using family history to build a healthier future for Arnav
It was a normal Saturday morning for Prem and Sangita in 2010. Their son, Arnav, was 15 months old, and the young family was looking forward to a weekend together. Prem, however, woke up feeling a little off. He was restless and felt a slight pain in his left shoulder. Figuring it was just acid reflux, Prem assured Sangita not to worry. But as he stepped into the living room, Prem started sweating – and then, he passed out. He was having a heart attack.
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How a 15-year-old boy survived against the odds
He might look like a typical high school student, but at 15 years old, Aldorsey survived an undiagnosed condition that if left untreated, has a 90% death rate in the first year of life. Although Aldorsey participated in physically demanding sports for years, he never showed signs of a heart condition. A string of coincidences connected his family to the right people when Aldorsey needed help the most.
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Teddy thrives with his new heart
Deborah found herself at a crossroads near the end of her pregnancy. She could stay at the hospital she knew so well with the obstetrician who delivered her other children or follow the pediatrician's advice and consider Children's Health.
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Natalie becomes a heart warrior
Libby from Amarillo found out during a routine ultrasound at 24 weeks gestation that her baby girl had several serious heart defects. Natalie would need treatment for hypoplastic right heart syndrome, which causes the right side of the heart to be severely underdeveloped, along with tricuspid atresia, ventricular septal defect (VSD) and atrial septal defect.
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London thrives after enduring heart defects
London is a vivacious toddler who speaks in full sentences and loves macaroni and cheese.
"I mostly forget that she has a problem with her heart," says Chelsey, London's mom.
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Rome dreams big after a heart transplant
At just 13, Children's Health patient, Rome has big plans for her life. She's already a straight-A student, a talented singer and dancer, an accomplished violinist, an active member in her church, and, if you ask her, she's just getting started. Rome is adamant that she will be the first black female president of the United States, and anyone who meets her leaves their encounter with little doubt that this young lady will accomplish anything she sets her mind to.
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A family takes heart in their darkest days
Like many new parents, when Miguel and Jacqueline were expecting, they dreamt about their child's future. Their hopes and aspirations grew as they prepared to welcome a new life into the world – and on February 22, 2018, their baby girl, Olivia, was born.
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22q doesn’t diminish Molly's joy
Before starting kindergarten in August 2018, Molly spent the summer traveling with her family, swimming, spending time in the country with her grandparents and playing dress-up with her big sister. She loves her big sister, ice cream and dogs. Seeing her, you would never guess that her earliest days were spent at Children's Medical Center Dallas.
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A young athlete moves forward after sudden cardiac arrest
From the moment she was born, Amanda had been a perfectly healthy child. For 13 years, she experienced and enjoyed all the things a young child experiences – friendships, school and sports. Nowhere along the way was there any indication Amanda may have a heart condition.
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Expert care ensures Sanders thrives after her heart transplant
Jamie and Destin wanted their children to grow up close to one another. "That's the hope and the dream, that we get to have a family life," Jamie says.
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A baby boy defies the odds with the support of the Heart Center
On January 11, 2018, Ivan and Amanda welcomed their third child to the world. Baby Isaac looked healthy, and the happy parents took him home from the hospital in El Paso the very next day.
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A new heart for a one-in-a-million girl
Though she seemed perfectly healthy during her first year of life, Ellie's pediatrician noticed she wasn't growing at her 12-month appointment. The doctor placed Ellie on a special diet and asked her mom, Michelle, to bring her back in a month. It was at this appointment that the pediatrician first heard a murmur in Ellie's heart.
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The power of a hopeful heart
When Casey speaks about her heart condition, it's easy to forget that she’s just a teenager. With bravery, poise and knowledge, she shares how she was born with a heart defect and how now, 15 years later, she's grateful to have received a heart transplant. Casey's mom, Bethany, always knew that a transplant would be the ultimate "fix" for her daughter's condition – she just never imagined it would happen this way.
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Fetal Heart Program helps a family prepare and a baby thrive
Josiah is a sweet toddler who is full of energy and joy. He started preschool last fall, has a new baby brother and enjoys proudly reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. His mom, Carrie, says that looking at him, you'd have no idea he's had such a scary journey in his three years - a journey that started at Children's Health even before he was born.
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Safe at Home program offers a lifeline to heart patients and their families
Any new or experienced parent can attest to the fact that the early months of even the healthiest child's life comes with its own set of challenges. Lack of sleep, figuring out feedings, tracking developmental milestones – the list goes on.
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Confidence in care for a coronary anomaly
When Gabrielle, or "Gabby," was born, she was the fulfillment of her entire family's hopes for a baby girl. The youngest of three children, Gabby's parents and grandparents were excited to dote on the newest edition.
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How multidisciplinary care helped a tiny heart patient thrive
Graham was diagnosed with several congenital heart defects shortly after birth. When he was only 18 hours old, he was transferred from his home hospital in Louisiana to the Heart Center at Children's Health. Five days later, he underwent what would be the first of several surgeries to repair his heart.
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A high school student sets big goals after a heart transplant
On January 3, 2017, 16-year-old Jose returned to school after a fun and uneventful winter break. The student and active soccer player from Arlington, TX, suddenly started to feel sick: He had a bad headache, fever, nausea and chest pain. He went to the school nurse's office, where he began to feel worse. The nurse called Jose's mom, Marisol, to pick him up from school.
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Four lives changed in one week, without missing a beat
From just 12 weeks to 12 years old, four special patients received new hearts all in the same week at the Heart Center at Children’s Health℠. Watch the video above to meet Abby, Adriel, Alex and Phoenix – and celebrate their incredible journey to a renewed opportunity for a happy, healthy life.
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A childhood connection leads to a heartfelt career
Erin Hunter, RN, BSN, underwent her first open heart surgery to repair a congenital heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot, or TOF for short, when she was just nine months old. She was referred to Children's Medical Center by her physician after her mom noticed she lacked the energy of a typical infant, especially during feedings, and her fingers and lips occasionally turned blue. She would go on to have six additional open heart surgeries by the time she was 11 years old.
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Meet the healing power of Badger, the therapy dog
Sam loves his dog, Cookie. When he stayed at Children’s for eight months last year waiting for his second intestinal transplant, he missed his sidekick.
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