Baby Caden Heart Warrior

Baby Caden Heart Warrior

From Jenine Salter

The Bortz family is expecting Caden in a little over a week now. With the unexpected diagnosis of a congenital heart defect, their plans have changed a bit. Please contribute to help them in their time of need.

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Ricky and Bridget are two of the most generous people I know but would never ask for anything in return. With Caden’s diagnosis of CHD and his anticipated medical needs, the Bortz family will temporarily be living in Boston with him. Please contribute to help them in any way possible. It will be a long road for this incredible family but with the support of their family and friends they will remain strong. Please visit their page to stay informed on Caden’s progress. 

Here is a little about what Caden is experiencing (taken from Caden’s Facebook story):

At maternal fetal medicine, the doctor told us that our baby has a congenital heart defect (CHD) - they were able to see pulmonary atresia and a hypoplastic right ventricle - the valve that connects the heart to the lungs was not functioning and therefore one of the four chambers of the heart did not develop properly. This happens very early on and there is no known cause. The severity of the situation was expressed and termination was brought up - neither of us ever considered termination and the next step was a cardiologist appointment.

Another week later, we went over to CCMC for a fetal echocardiogram to see the blood flow in the baby’s heart. The pediatric cardiologist confirmed that the pulmonary valve did not develop, cutting off the blood flow to the right ventricle and thus not allowing the right ventricle and the tricuspid valve to develop. The ductus arteriosus is a shunt that connects the aorta to the main pulmonary artery; this structure has remained intact and has allowed our baby to develop all other structures. There is an issue once the baby is delivered because that conduit only remains open due to a hormone from the mother and is provided with oxygenated blood by the placenta. Once outside the womb , the duct naturally closes and becomes a ligament, relying on his own little lungs to oxygenate blood. In our case, the baby will be given medication to help keep the duct open. The plan for Baby Bortz would be a three surgery process. The FIRST SURGERY would place a permanent gortex shunt in the same location of the ductus arteriosus, thus allowing blood flow through the lungs outside the womb. This surgery will occur during the first week of life. After this procedure, he will still experience some degree of cyanosis due to non-oxygenated blood in the right atrium being able to mix with oxygenated blood from the left side of the heart as a result of the valve not developing. The SECOND SURGERY, the Glenn Procedure, occurring at about 2-3 months, will then further reduce the mixing of oxygen-poor and oxygen-rich blood by making a direct connection between the pulmonary artery and the superior vena cava. This allows all the blood returning from the upper portion of the body to flow directly through the lungs and not have to go through the right side of the heart. The THIRD SURGERY, the Fontan Procedure, then takes care of the oxygen-poor blood returning from the lower half of the body. The third surgery usually occurs between 2-4 years old and connects the pulmonary artery to the inferior vena cava. At this point, every other structure appeared to be normal and we were sent for some extra genetic testing to rule out any syndromes associated with CHD.

The BCH cardiac specialist said the success rates are now >95% and they have come a long way with the procedures during the past 5-10 years. There is also a very new procedure utilizing a vein from the umbilical cord that can be used in place of the gortex shunt currently undergoing research trials.  The catheter procedure definitely sounds appealing being less invasive and less recovery time in the CICU which would hopefully mean bringing our little guy home sooner! 

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