Connelly Lehane – who goes by “CoCo” – is an active 7-year-old and competitive swimmer.
When she and her twin brother were born, doctors detected that CoCo had a heart murmur, an irregular sound made during the heartbeat cycle. Heart murmurs can be harmless, but they can also indicate an underlying problem. CoCo seemed to be doing fine until a routine check-up by the family’s pediatrician revealed some concerns that the murmur could be a sign of trouble.
Her mother, Megan Lehane, took her to the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital, where Sudhir Vashist, MBBS, MD, a pediatric cardiologist who specializes in electrophysiology, performed an echocardiogram.
Dr. Vashist told Mrs. Lehane that the problem was an atrial septal defect, a “hole” in the wall that separates the top two chambers of the heart and which is easily fixed through a minimally invasive procedure. Within a month, pediatric interventional cardiologist Michael Slack, MD, successfully performed the procedure using a device to close the hole.
“Dr. Slack and the entire team were fabulous,” Mrs. Lehane says. “They helped us understand the procedure and calmed our nerves.”
CoCo is now back to doing what she loves – including many sports.
“She has shaved 11 seconds off her swimming time,” says Mrs. Lehane. Previously, CoCo often became short of breath and tired easily. Now, her heart is keeping up with her boundless energy.
“The way the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital took care of her was unbelievable,” says Mrs. Lehane. “I’m just so grateful. They really made her feel special.”
MICHAEL SLACK, MD, is Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Director of Pediatric and Congenital Interventional Cardiology in the Children’s Heart Program at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital.
SUDHIR VASHIST, MBBS, 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.
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