Heart Warrior Stories
Complete Heart Block
Heart Warrior Bethel was diagnosed with complete atrial ventricular block (complete heart block) at 23 weeks gestation. This set off a flurry of doctors appointments 2-4 times a week. We needed to ensure she was holding strong at her heart rate of 70 bpm. Most congenital heart defects affect the hearts structure, but complete heart block is an electrical issue, and it can only be corrected with an implanted pacemaker.
Bethel was born at 39 weeks in GA. There was a chance she would need surgery immediately, but thankfully that was not the case. We were so grateful that she was able to thrive with her natural heart rate (in the 50’s) for 5 years. She was monitored each month for her first year of life. After that, it was every three months with ekg’s, 24 hour holter monitors and echocardiograms. These tests allowed us to see how her heart muscle was handling the slow heart rate and to assess how low her rate was getting while sleeping. In April of 2021 the call for surgery was made for this beautiful heart warrior. There were signs that her slow rate was affecting her heart and she was beginning to have pauses in her heartbeat overnight.
We’re so thankful for the amazing doctors, nurses, technicians, and child life specialists who have cared for our heart warrior and us. Our journey with CHD has opened our eyes to a whole new world and knit our hearts with many who have their own heart warrior and have walked a similar road.
Families in Georgia and surrounding areas can receive comprehensive pediatric cardiac care at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. For information please visit: www.choa.org