CMN Jax Celebrates Heart Month

There is no bigger month than FEBRUARY for heart awareness! School kids across the nation make heart-shaped crafts in their classrooms, paper hearts hang from the ceilings of our favorite stores, and sugary sweets with little red hearts pop up all over grocery shelves. In addition to celebrating Valentine’s Day, February is also home to Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Month.

A congenital heart defect (CHD) is a problem with the heart’s structure that is present at birth including holes in the chamber walls or problems with a child’s valves. It can also include missing or poorly formed portions of the heart that need reconstruction. Many children with CHD will visit the pediatric Cath Lab where doctors can use machines to map out portions of the heart and treat certain abnormalities. Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Jacksonville is a proud supporter of the Wolfson Children’s Hospital Cath Lab and purchased different pieces of equipment including echocardiograms and a 3D Rythmia Mapping System.

Help us continue celebrating all things HEART this month and take a look below at our amazing Heart Warriors treated at our local CMN Hospitals – UF Health Jacksonville & Wolfson Children’s Hospital.


Premature | Down Syndrome | Congenital Heart Defect

Jasper was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect prior to birth. After battling pre-term labor from 21 weeks gestation, Jasper was born at 36 weeks. Due to his small size and heart defect, he spent 17 days in the Wolfson Children’s Hospital NICU. Jasper had his first open heart surgery at 6 months old. After spending 5 months in the hospital, it was determined he would need a second open heart surgery to make him healthy enough to go home. He was released just in time to spend his 1st birthday with family!


Tracheoesophageal Fistula and Esophageal Atresia | Congenital Heart Defect | Trisomy 21

McKenna was born with trisomy 21, rocking an extra 21st chromosome. At just two days old, they learned she had a tracheoesophageal fistula and esophageal atresia, along with a congenital heart defect (atrioventricular canal, atrial septal, and ventricular septal defects). McKenna had her first surgery to connect the esophagus at just five days old. She has since had 11 additional surgeries in her young life. Through the obstacles McKenna has faced, she continues to show her resilience and even competes in local pageants!


Congenital Heart Disease

Sandra was born with congenital heart disease and admitted to Wolfson Children’s Hospital at 3 months old for failure to thrive. To help her gain weight, she stayed in the hospital for 9 days so that doctors could place a feeding tube and assess her progress. A few days after her release, Sandra had surgery to repair a nasal blockage but developed complications. She contracted a respiratory virus and spent 18 days in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU). Showing the beginning signs of heart failure, Sandra had her first open heart surgery at just 6 months old, weighing only 7 pounds. After a four-month recovery at home, her health began to flourish. Sandra is a happy and thriving toddler who amazes her family, friends and complete strangers with her strength.


Kabuki Syndrome

Michael was diagnosed at 18 weeks gestation with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, among other heart defects. He has had a number of surgeries and procedures, including two open heart surgeries, multiple heart cath procedures, neurosurgery to alleviate two severe subdural hemorrhages, and gtube placement. After over a year of procedures and unknowns, Michael was diagnosed with Kabuki Syndrome, a multisystem disorder characterized by multiple abnormalities. Michael is a growing toddler who loves Spongebob SquarePants and books about animals!


Congenital Heart Disease

Prior to birth, Zoe was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect that caused her to undergo not one, but two open-heart surgeries since she was born. Doctors at Wolfson Children’s Hospital completed a repair of her heart by correcting six defects. They also removed a membranous web that was restricting blood flow and performed a heart catheter procedure. Zoe’s family anticipates another surgery in the future, but right now they are just thankful for their little miracle who enriches their lives in immeasurable ways!


Congenital Heart Disease

During a routine ultrasound at five months gestation, Ben was diagnosed with a fairly common form of congenital heart disease. Later, doctors in the Pediatric Cardiology department at Wolfson Children’s Hospital determined his condition was more severe than originally diagnosed, and Ben would not be able to circulate oxygenated blood to his brain and other vital organs outside his mother’s womb. Within 15 minutes of being born, Ben was placed on an ECMO machine that would take the blood out of his body, oxygenate it and then replace it. He also underwent two surgeries within the first two weeks of his life to correct the heart defect. Ben spent several more weeks in the hospital and became the first known infant to survive past a few minutes with this specific defect.

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