Monday, February 21st, 2011
February is also American Heart Month and Fox News anchor Bret Baier of Special Report with Bret Baier spoke to Parents.com recently about parenting a son with congenital heart disease. At 3-years-old, Paul was born with five congenital heart defects and has already underwent two surgeries. Even though congenital heart defects are a common birth defect, they are rarely detected. Read excerpts from Baier’s interview below:
Congenital heart disease isn’t necessarily inherited — what are some methods of early detection? What are signs of a congenital heart defect? Are there ways to prevent it?
When you start talking about congenital heart defects, it’s amazing how common they are. I think one in 150 children has some sort of congenital heart defect and, out of those, half of them need surgery in the first year. Now, a lot of this can be detected by measuring the oxygen level of your blood. If there were a mandated check at hospitals when babies are born, this could be detected early.
What advice do you have for parents who need support in raising children with life-threatening conditions, defects or diseases? What suggestions do you have for promoting awareness of this issue?
Congenital heart defects are under the radar, unfortunately, especially regarding children. There is no awareness about how prevalent it is. Just the other day, the president signed the American Heart Month proclamation, and it does good things concerning heart disease, but it doesn’t deal with heart defects. The key thing is to work with your doctor, have confidence in what’s happening, and have family and friends rally around you. We got through our experience because of all the people that helped out. You realize how important family and friends can be.