Mason Garka, 6, holds a photo of himself as a baby, just before his surgery on July 4, 2008
Independence Day has a unique meaning for Greg and Kelsey Garka. It was on July 4, 2008, that their brand new baby boy, Mason, had his chest closed after the first of three life-saving heart operations at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
“His recovery from that day forward went text book well,” Kelsey Garka said. “It was the first step toward the spunky, independent boy he is today.”
Mason, who just celebrated his sixth birthday, was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS), a congenital birth defect that affects the left side of the heart, which pumps oxygen-rich blood to the body.
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Dr. Jonathan Chen, division chief of pediatric cardiovascular surgery and co-director of Seattle Children’s Heart Center
Tune in tonight to ABC to see our own Dr. Jonathan Chen featured in the season premier of the popular real-life hospital series, “NY Med,” which airs at 10:00 p.m. The eight-episode documentary series, which took nearly two years to produce, aims to showcase tales of high stakes medicine where renowned surgeons perform feats of medical brilliance.
The premier episode will highlight a case Chen handled during his time at Manhattan’s New York-Presbyterian Hospital, which he practiced at prior to coming to Seattle Children’s Hospital to assume the role of division chief for pediatric cardiothoracic surgery and co-director of Seattle Children’s Heart Center.
You will be able to watch Chen skillfully treat a 19-year-old Marine who collapsed at boot camp due to a sudden stroke. Chen discovers the Marine’s heart is severely enlarged and he takes him on a journey to recovery that involves a life-saving heart transplant.
To learn more about the show, visit: http://abc.go.com/shows/ny-med
Christal Hays, of Anchorage, Alaska, is only 18 years old, but she is wise beyond her years. A former patient of Seattle Children’s Hospital, Hays has been through a lot in her life. Diagnosed with genetic nephrotic syndrome and heart disease at only 8 months old, she had a kidney transplant and underwent open heart surgery at Seattle Children’s and grew up traveling to and from Seattle for treatment. For Hays, her untraditional childhood was normal. And from this experience, she has a message for others, “You are more than your disease.”
It’s a message that is now inspiring others on a national level thanks to an essay she decided to share with the world. Read full post »
According to a new study that will be highlighted this weekend at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting, women, particularly younger women, are still smoking while pregnant, putting their newborns at risk for congenital heart defects.
Patrick Sullivan, MD, lead author of the study and clinical fellow in pediatric cardiology at Seattle Children’s Hospital, said maternal smoking seemed to place newborns at a 50-70 percent greater risk for specific heart anomalies. The risk was highest in the heaviest smokers. Read full post »
Julie Kobayashi, a 12-year-old girl from Hawaii, is Seattle Children’s third patient to receive the HeartMate II ventricular assist device (VAD), a device that allowed Julie to leave the hospital while waiting for a life-saving heart transplant. This is her story, from failing heart to transplant.
Julie Kobayashi started feeling sick on a Saturday in November 2013. She felt nauseous, but didn’t have a fever. The symptoms reflected that of the stomach flu. Her family wasn’t overly concerned at first. They thought the symptoms would subside and their daughter would be back to her normal self in no time. For Julie, an active and fun-loving 12-year-old, she usually didn’t let anything slow her down for too long.
When Monday rolled around, Julie felt well enough to go to school. She enjoyed school and had been working really hard practicing her clarinet for an upcoming concert. Missing school wasn’t an option in Julie’s mind. Read full post »
In honor of American Heart Month, we are sharing Gabrielle’s incredible journey from sick baby to healthy toddler.
Christen Simon was 18 weeks into her third pregnancy when a routine ultrasound revealed the unthinkable: a serious birth defect. The daughter that Christen and her husband would call Gabrielle would need a heart transplant soon after birth.
“At that point I was in shock,” said Simon. “I didn’t know heart defects existed before that point in time. It wasn’t even in my scope of possibilities, not for my daughter.” Read full post »
In honor of American Heart Month, we are sharing a series of stories about some of our incredible heart patients who have overcome the odds.
Nobi Johnson was a seemingly healthy, charismatic and extremely athletic 13-year-old girl. She excelled at sports and was a star on the basketball court and soccer field. There was nothing she couldn’t do if she put her mind to it, which made the diagnosis of an anomalous coronary artery difficult to understand. Sports were out of the question, due to the unforeseen heart defect. How would Nobi find her happiness again? It would take over a year, but Nobi would find herself back on the court, thanks to her determination to play again and Seattle Children’s and Mary Bridge Children’s Regional Cardiac Surgery Program. Read full post »
When people think of celebrities and stars, typically the names that come to mind are from the hills of Hollywood. But talk to children and families who have received care at Seattle Children’s Heart Center, and their responses may differ. They are more likely to name the 36 unsung heroes of the Heart Center who provide care to more than a quarter of the landmass of the United States – from the Arctic Circle to Seattle and beyond. Read full post »
Scientists at Seattle Children’s Research Institute are using a unique species of fish to find out why some babies are born with heart malformations and how a defective heart might repair itself.
About one percent of U.S. babies are born with a heart defect, requiring medication, surgery or catheter procedures. While the condition is common, the cause is often unknown. Multiple genes are believed to contribute to heart malformations so genetic testing is difficult.
That’s where the minnow-sized zebrafish comes in. Zebrafish are ideal research subjects because they carry many of the same genes that are found in humans, including those that contribute to heart defects. Zebrafish also have transparent embryos that grow outside the mother, allowing scientists to easily observe their development. Read full post »
The heart that connects Rachel Cradduck to a family in Mexico was transplanted into her son Ethan Robbins at Seattle Children’s Hospital when he was just five months old. It came from a baby who died in a California hospital after her family traveled there for medical care.
“A heart transplant is a bittersweet thing,” says Rachel. “During Ethan’s transplant and every day since, I have been deeply aware that another family suffered a tragic loss. I wanted to thank them for the incredible thing they did.”
Rachel had her chance last fall – about a year and a half after Ethan’s transplant – through a unique video teleconference arranged by Seattle Children’s Heart Center and Telemedicine teams at Children’s, and on the other end by Sierra Donor Services (SDS), the Sacramento-based organ procurement organization that helped facilitate the transplant. Read full post »