Jack was prenatally diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot, a complex congenital heart defect, prior to his birth on April 15, 2008. Jack and his twin brother, Nathan, were delivered in Philadelphia in the event that Jack should require his open heart surgery at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia immediately after birth.
Thankfully, Jack was more stable than we had suspected he would be, and we were able to delay his life-saving surgery until he was 3 months old. During this waiting period, pulse oximetry testing was an important tool for us to monitor Jack's oxygen saturation levels - a key factor in determining when his little heart was starting to fail and surgery would need to be performed. Jack had his successful surgery in July of 2008.
Today, he is a happy and active 5 year old, who loves t-ball, swimming and playing outdoors. He will remain under the care of a cardiologist for the rest of his life, and may require additional procedures as he grows.
Since Jack's diagnosis, our family has become active in fundraising and awareness for congenital heart defects with various organizations, including the American Heart Association. During this time, we have had the opportunity to meet many families - families like ours, who had the benefit of prenatal diagnosis, and families who did not learn of their child's diagnosis until birth. For children whose heart defects were not recognized prenatally, pulse-ox is a simple and non-invasive tool to measure oxygen...and in children with critical heart defects, the results of this test could prove life-saving.
Including this test as part of the standard newborn screening panel will ensure fewer infants are sent home from the hospital undiagnosed. Our continual goal is to have more and more congenital heart defect stories turn out just like our Jack's.