BROKEN ARROW, Okla. (KFOR) – “When I was about 20 weeks along, we found out that she was going to have to have three surgeries. I started going to a specialist, and then we found out that she had hypoplastic right heart, VSD, tricuspid atresia and pulmonary atresia,” Misty Allen of Broken Arrow said.
Hypoplastic right heart syndrome means the right side of the heart is undeveloped. VSD stands for ventricle septal defect and means there is a hole in her daughter’s heart. Tricuspid Atresia is a heart defect in which the heart valve is missing or abnormally developed. Pulmonary Atresia is a birth defect where the valve that controls blood flow from the heart to the lungs does not form at all. Little Scarlett was a very ill baby, and the names describing her medical ailments were a lot to take in for anybody let alone a pregnant mother trying to understand what is happening to her unborn baby.
“Our fetal cardiologists meet the mother when they’re pregnant and find out they have a cardiac anomaly and will follow them every few weeks and do more ultrasounds,” Scarlett’s surgeon, Dr. Harold Burkhart, said.
“Everything was just starting to get cloudy,” Misty said. “I was really overwhelming.”
Time was crucial.
“Scarlett will be born,” Burkhart said. “You’ll get to kiss Scarlett, and then we’ll take Scarlett to the NICU, and they will make sure everything is stable and start that medicine that keeps that artery open.”
Doctors intervened, and a plan was put in place.
“The first surgery that they did, there is a valve at the top of the heart that closes after 72 hours automatically, and they needed to keep that open,” Misty said. “So, the first thing that they did was they put a BT shunt in to keep the blood flowing, because essentially the blood comes into the right side of your heart and then moves to the left, but hers was closed and it couldn’t operate properly.”
A series of surgeries of rerouting and bypassing were performed.
“The third surgery will be [on an] artery that’s bringing all the blood in from the body,” she said. “They’re going to detach it and reattach it to the artery going out to the lungs. So, essentially, all of the blood coming back into her heart will just go straight to the lungs and bypass the heart all together.”
Scarlett will have one more surgery to undergo after she is two years old, but she is not alone. She has her family and an entire team of medical professionals.
“Everyone there,” Misty said. “They are all so incredible. I love how they all meet together. They’re all on the same page. They all cover every little detail.”
And they are all just as determined as the little girl who has overcome in her short life more than many people will in a lifetime.
“I don’t know what it is, but I know she’s going to be strong and confident whatever she decides to do,” Misty said.
To nominate a child to be featured on “A Heart 4 Kids”, email Jeremiah-Lane@ouhsc.edu.
This segment is sponsored by The children’s Hospital Foundation. If you’d like to donate to the Children’s Hospital Foundation to help keep this and other life-saving medical programs here in Oklahoma, visit CHFKids.com.