Based on what’s known about her rare congenital heart condition, Maddison Ames has already defied the odds. Since her prenatal diagnosis and heart surgery just 4 days after her birth, she has grown to be a healthy, smart and spunky toddler.
Rakita Ames was 22 weeks pregnant when she learned her baby had truncus arteriosus, a rare congenital heart defect resulting in too much blood going to the lungs and causing congestive heart failure.
“I was terrified,” says Mrs. Ames. “The very next day, my husband Keith and I went to see Dr. Turan at the University of Maryland Medical Center.”
Shifa Turan, MD, is an obstetrician specializing in fetal medicine at UMMC’s Center for Advanced Fetal Care. The center cares for pregnant women, many of whom are carrying babies with congenital heart defects, as well as other conditions that will require lifesaving heart surgeries.
Mr. and Mrs. Ames were introduced to a team of fetal and pediatric heart experts including perinatologists, pediatric cardiologists, a pediatric cardiac surgeon, a neonatologist, a genetic counselor, social workers and nurses.
“Dr. Turan made us feel very comfortable. She went into great detail of what to expect and what we’d encounter over the remaining weeks of pregnancy and all the doctor visits. She introduced us to Dr. Sunjay Kaushal, pediatric heart surgeon, and Dr. Nicholas Pietris, pediatric cardiologist.”
The team prepared a plan to kick into action as soon as Maddison was born. Her surgery, four days after her birth, was a success, and she came home two weeks later. Her parents were told that Maddison may still face challenges, such as difficulty breathing, possible intellectual disability and other issues. But now 2 years old, Maddison has been hitting all of her developmental milestones.
“She is amazing and the light of our lives,” says Mrs. Ames.
SUNJAY KAUSHAL, MD, PhD, is Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Director of Pediatric and Adult Congenital Surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center and Co-Director of the Children’s Heart Program at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital.
NICHOLAS PIETRIS, MD, is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Pediatric Cardiologist in the Children’s Heart Program at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital.
SHIFA TURAN, MD, is Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, and Director of the Fetal Heart Program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Center for Advanced Fetal Care at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
To support the Children's Heart Program, please click here.