Tadhg was born full term in December 2016 a seemingly healthy baby after a handful of losses and unhealthy, complicated pregnancies. For the first 18 months of his life, everything seemed normal until his 18 month well check when his new pediatrician heard a heart murmur not previously heard. Even though it was thought to be an innocent murmur, the pediatrician referred him to a pediatric cardiologist. She, too, thought it to innocent when listening to it, however, once blood pressures were taken and an echocardiogram was performed, he was diagnosed with what was thought to be a mild Coarctation of Aorta (CoA). He was set up with a sedated echo at CHOP the following week and surgery was soon set up for July 24th of 2018, a month after his initial diagnosis.
Surgery day came and had a CT scan performed immediately before he went back to the OR so that Dr. Fuller could plan how to approach and repair his aorta. It was during that scan that they found that his aorta was nearly 100% restricted and he had the most common variant of aortic arch, referred to as a bovine arch. Because of the way his aortic arch was, it was going to make repairing his aorta a little trickier and put him at a higher likelihood of finding the repair wouldn’t work via thoracotomy as planned and then having to close him up and approach via his sternum. Despite how tricky it was and how close he came to the thoracotomy not working, Dr. Fuller’s skilled hands and her team got it done. Since the damaged section of his aorta was so close to the major blood vessels, the entire damaged portion couldn’t be removed but the majority of it was successfully repaired in an end to end repair.
Today, Tadhg has been on blood pressure medication since surgery and will be on it for a while, however, he remains very active and like nothing ever happened. He goes to his cardiologist appointments as scheduled and takes his medication twice a day nicely and acts like a regular 2 year old. The future looks bright for him because of the amazing work of his cardiology team, pediatrician, surgical team and because of amazing organizations such as Big Hearts to Little Hearts, who tirelessly help raise money to fund the groundbreaking research and innovative procedures that help young cardiology patients, like Tadhg, have a better chance at leading longer, more fulfilling lives!