A Broken Heart

35,000 children are born with heart defects every year (American Heart Association)
Only 1% of those children have truncus arteriosus (many sources, including the Herma Heart Center where Turnip may be treated)
That means about 350 babies are born in the U.S. with the same condition as Turnip every year. (330 according to the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report from jan 6, 2006)
Surgery usually happens at 6-12 weeks (EPA, page 4)
15-50% of children require another surgery within the next five years (i.b.i.d.)
All heart valves are replaced after 12 years(i.b.i.d.)
Newborns with truncus arteriosus stayed in the hospital for an average of 30 days during 2003 (CDC, table 2)
The hospital charges for this stay (not including lab tests and doctor fees) ran to $200,000 (CDC, table 2)
In a small study published in 1996, 6% of infants died before surgery and 10% died during surgery (EPA, page 4)
In a national survey, 20% of newborns with truncus arteriosus died in the hospital in 2003 (CDC, table 1)

Sunday, February 21, 2016

how to compare pediatric cardiothoracic surgery programs

Apparently, there is a way to compare the success of different hospitals ... that isn't based on how much the parents' of the children who were treated liked the doctors (US News and World Reprt).  The Society of Thoracic Surgeons has compiled a database comparing different pediatric cardiothoracic surgery programs around the country.  The database is searchable at:


This particular link does not contain all of the data... but it does allow me to compare our local children's hospital with others around the country.

Monday, February 15, 2016

triannual cardiology appointment

The good news: no surgery for now.

The details: Small boy's heart has not changed:  It is still enlarged and ineffecient but functional.  For now, his medical treatment will be guided by his behavior.  Unless he starts showing signs of heart failure, he will continue visiting his cardiologist every four months for an echocardiogram and evaluation.

If anything changes, he will get an MRI.

His next surgery will focus on both his pulmonary trunk and his aortic root.