I was born on November 7th, 1979 in Kearney, Nebraska without any immediately apparent complications. After a few days at home my father, a family physician, noticed I often had a rapid heart rate and was perspiring after minimal activity. My parents took me in for more tests and at the conclusion of the exam the pediatrician told my mom, “pick up your baby and give him a kiss, we are getting a plane to fly him to Omaha for immediate surgery.” I was diagnosed with a Coarctation of the Aorta, an obstruction in the aorta causing the heart to have to work much harder than normal to produce the required blood flow to the body. The high blood pressure this caused also prevented the atrial and ventricular septums (the membranes that separate the left and right chambers of both the upper and lower halves of the heart) from closing. An initial surgery was performed to alleviate the aortic obstruction with the hope that this would decrease the blood pressure and allow the holes in the in the septums to close on their own. When the holes did not fully close a second surgery was performed at 8 months to patch these holes.
The result of these two surgeries was a healthy young man who has led a completely normal life. The only indication I had anything but a typical first few months are a couple of scars and a bi-annual checkup with a cardiologist. I’m sure that those few months were stressful for my parents but thankfully this condition has had minimal impact on my quality of life. I was fortunate that my Dad caught the symptoms early and to have had an excellent set of Doctors and nurses who took care of me.
Written by MichaelView All Stories