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Sarah Helm

Age 6 | Heart

Sarah Helm, now a sweet and smiling 6 year old, is a walking miracle, according to her parents. When she was adopted from China at 19 months old, her parents were told she had a few minor heart problems.

Christine and Gary Helm took Sarah to Kosair Children's Hospital for an examination and they were told her minor heart problems required major attention as soon as possible.

Unlike most children, they learned that Sarah's heart is in the middle of her chest, a condition called medial heart. She also had multiple holes in her heart and the main arteries connecting to her heart were transposed and on the wrong sides.

Sarah's open-heart surgery to correct the issues with her heart was performed by pediatric cardiothoracic surgeons Erle Austin, M.D., and Thomas Yeh, M.D.

Recovery was Bumpy

Recovery from surgery was a bumpy road for Sarah. What was originally intended to be a three-to-five day recovery became 32 days after she caught pneumonia two times, which is a common occurrence after surgery. She also suffered from heart failure and had a collapsed lung due to the pneumonia.

After surgeries and hospitalizations as a young child, Sarah has recovered and is living a safe and active life.

With Michael Recto, M.D., pediatric interventional cardiologist, the team at Kosair Children's Hospital, and a watchful family, Sarah recently graduated from kindergarten and is eager to start in the first grade.

Read Another Story

Thinking big for major heart problems

Your support of the Children's Hospital Foundation has enabled Kosair Children's Hospital to think big for children of all sizes who have heart problems. The foundation helped provide funding that enabled the construction of the region's only Congenital Heart Center, which treats children like Sarah, and offers a wide variety of treatment options.

A heart problem can be scary for adults - but when it's a child, it's nice to know that specialized care is available at Kosair Children's Hospital.

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