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Fetal Heart Intervention Corrects Heart Abnormality

“Shortly after our first ultrasound, we were notified that our baby had a heart abnormality. Our doctor put us in touch with Dr. James Strainic and the UH fetal heart program, who discovered our son Emmett had pulmonary atresia with intact ventricular septum.

“We knew nothing about congenital heart defects. In Emmett’s case, the valve that allows blood to flow from the heart to the lungs didn’t work correctly. The UH team quickly brought us up to speed – what the diagnosis meant for Emmett and what our options were. With the team’s guidance, we decided the fetal heart intervention would give our unborn baby the healthiest heart and best outlook possible.

“The in utero procedure went as well as we hoped, and the next step was labor and delivery. After a smooth birth and a PDA stenting and balloon the following day, baby Emmett’s heart was stable and strong enough to go home. He had another valvuloplasty at four months of age.

“Today Emmett is almost eight months old, healthy and happy beyond words! We are amazed that Emmett’s tiny heart was helped with noninvasive methods through the amazing new cath lab at UH Rainbow. Our total stay at the hospital was measured in days, rather than weeks or months.

We are so thankful for every staff member, nurse, and doctor we encountered who made our experience so much better. Special shout outs to Dr. Strainic, Dr. Ragsdale, Dr. Armstrong, Dr. Bocks, Dr. Plummer, Dr. Lozier and all of their staff for getting Emmett to where he is today without any major surgeries!” — Annemarie and Scott Shaughnessy, Emmett’s proud parents