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    Sutter Children's Center, Sacramento

    Ethan - Never Give Up

    Ethan -
    Ethan - Never Give Up

    Born with a heart defect, Heather knew there was a chance that the baby she was carrying was at a higher risk for also having a congenital heart condition. When she was 23 weeks pregnant, she had a level 2 ultrasound with one of Sutter’s perinatologists and it was then that the doctor suggested they have Stanley Wright, M.D., a pediatric cardiologist, review the imaging. Dr. Wright let Heather know that her fetus showed characteristics that indicated a heart condition, but that they would have to follow-up a few weeks later when they could see more to provide a diagnosis.

    Four weeks later, Heather went in for another ultrasound and Dr. Wright diagnosed her baby with truncus arteriosus and an aortic arch defect. Because of the high health risks if the conditions are left untreated, Dr. Wright suggested that Heather deliver her baby boy at Stanford’s Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital so he could have his heart surgery as soon as possible. At the time, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento’s Pediatric Heart Surgery Program wasn’t able to perform open-heart surgeries on newborns.

    Heather delivered Ethan at Stanford and at only 3 days old he underwent his first heart surgery. The procedure was successful and a valve was implanted into his heart. To keep up with his growing body, Ethan had two additional surgeries to replace his valve at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento. The latest one was when Ethan was 8 years old and pediatric heart surgeon Teimour Nasirov, M.D., was able to implant an adult-size valve so he won’t need a replacement for at least another decade. And because of the impact pregnancy had on Heather’s body, she also underwent a heart surgery at Sutter.

    “We’re so lucky to have our team at Sutter to care for our family,” said Heather. “Both Dr. Wright and Dr. Nasirov make us feel like we’re their only patients and give us all the time we need to have our questions answered and make us feel comfortable.”

    Looking at Ethan today, you wouldn’t know that he has endured three open-heart procedures. The energetic 9-year-old enjoys skateboarding, biking and snowboarding. 

    Watch Ethan's story: 


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