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Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Surgical Solutions for Adult Congenital Heart Disease

Posted By: Advancing Care

Congenital health conditions are defects that are present in someone’s body before birth. These types of conditions are most often addressed during infancy or early childhood, but sometimes they can go years without diagnosis or treatment — resulting in health issues during adulthood. When it comes to addressing a congenital heart issue in adulthood, for the best outcomes, it is highly advisable for an adult patient to seek a cardiac surgeon experienced in fixing congenital heart conditions.

Lourdes Cecilia Prada Quiroga is all too familiar with this experience.

Quiroga, a 33-year-old living in Ossining, N.Y., was born with Ebstein's anomaly, a rare congenital heart defect where the tricuspid valve hasn’t properly developed. She was diagnosed with this condition as a newborn in Peru, her home country, where her parents were told it was mild and did not need treatment.

“As a kid, I had to take medications every day and get regular checkups with a cardiologist,” said Quiroga. “But what affected me most was not being able to participate in sports because I would get short of breath very easily.”

Without proper intervention, Quiroga lived with these symptoms, caused by Ebstein’s anomaly, until adulthood, when she came to Westchester Medical Center.

Sameh Said, MD

Quiroga originally came to WMCHealth for hip surgery to treat another congenital condition: hip dysplasia. “I had my 3-year-old daughter at Westchester Medical Center and I felt confident in the care I received from the staff and doctors, so I wanted to come back for my hip surgery,” she said.

But when she was undergoing tests to be cleared for surgery, her clinicians noticed that the tricuspid valve in her heart wasn’t in the correct position and it was leaking. As a result, she had follow-up appointments with multiple cardiac specialists, including Sameh Said, MD, Section Chief, Pediatric and Adult Congenital Cardiac Surgery

Dr. Said treats both pediatric and adult congenital heart defects, and performed two surgeries on Quiroga to repair her tricuspid valve and improve the function of her heart.

Leading up to the surgeries, Quiroga shared that she was nervous to be away from her daughter and face the risk of complications. But the confidence of Dr. Said and his team helped ease her fears. “I had no doubt about the care I would receive at Westchester Medical Center,” she said. “I overcame my fear with faith, hope and confidence in my care team, and now I’m able to spend even more quality time with my daughter than I could before.”

Quiroga is recovering well from both surgeries and is able to enjoy playing with her daughter, traveling with her sister and even just walking around the block with much more ease. “I used to get completely exhausted even after walking two or three blocks, but now I can walk with more endurance,” she said. “And I’m hoping to be cleared by my cardiology team to have my hip surgery soon.”

Since her experience, Quiroga wants to encourage others to keep following up with their cardiologists on a regular basis. “Now, I feel like there was nothing ever wrong with my heart, and I am forever grateful.”

“All adult patients with congenital heart disease should have a lifelong follow-up with a specialized multidisciplinary team that has the sufficient expertise in managing adults with congenital heart problems, stressed Dr. Said. “And when it comes to needing reoperation, this should be done by a congenital cardiac surgeon.”    

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Said or another WMCHealth cardiovascular surgeon call 914.493.8793.  For more information, visit our website.