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Justin, born 1999

Our story is a bit different than others as our son Justin was not diagnosed shortly after birth but at the age of 3 1/2 years old.  He never once showed any signs of having a heart defect as he was such a perfect baby. He ate well, slept normal and was always a non-stop ball of energy that never seemed to tire.  I guess that's why the news really floored us.

In late January of 2003, during a routine office visit, his pediatrician detected what she thought to be just a simple heart murmur.  Not wanting to take any chances, she referred us to see a pediatric cardiologist.

The first PC we saw discovered that this was not just a simple heart murmur but actually a large hole in the upper part of the atria septum.  This is when we learned he had an Atrial Septal Defect (ASD). We were told that his ASD was causing lots of pressure on his lungs and making his heart dangerously enlarged.  He said there was no chance of spontaneous closure of the hole and the only way to correctly repair his heart would be to perform open heart surgery within the next month or two.

We obtained a second opinion from another PC who told us something completely different.  He said our son was just fine and didn't need surgery right away and could even wait until the age of nine or ten before needing it fixed.  Our third opinion suggested basically the same options as our first one but didn't feel the rush in doing surgery.

We decided not to wait and Justin had his surgery on March 25, 2003 at Dupont by Dr. Norwood.  The surgery went exactly as planned and they learned that the hole was much larger than seen from the echo the month before.  His surgery was on a Tuesday and by that Thursday of the same week we were home! Justin has never looked back since and to date, he has not had any further heart problems.

Today, Justin is a healthy and very bright six year old.  He just started the 1st grade and plays T-ball and takes Karate.  We are truly blessed and thankful each and every day.

Story by Justin's mom, Janine - New Jersey

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