In Australia, it is estimated that 6 babies are born every day with heart defects. According to Heart Kids Australia, that would mean that each year about 2190 Australian babies are affected with a heart problem.
In a recent article entitled “Broken hearts: heart disease in babies and children” written by Lakshmi Singh, we hear the story of Treena Appleby and her son Daniel.
Treena was excited at the upcoming birth of her son Daniel, but at 19 weeks pregnant, she was shocked and saddened to discover that her unborn child had hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Hypoplastic left heart syndrome occurs when parts of the left side of the heart do not develop completely, and the condition is present at birth, so it is considered congenital. This ultimately meant that Daniel only had half a heart.
The Applebys later visited a specialist cardiologist who gave them the option of keeping the baby or not. Treena opted to go ahead with the pregnancy, knowing full well that Daniel may have complications with his heart.
Treena gave birth to Daniel, but when Daniel was just 4 days old, tine baby Daniel had to underg his first open heart surgery. Before he turned one years old, he had to have 2 more open heart surgeries.
Daniel will have to undergo one more heart surgery when he’s 4 years old, but throughout his life he will only have half a heart. Hypoplastic left heart syndrome is quite rare for babies in Australia, but the group of diseases that it belongs to, which is congenital heart disease is not so rare.