Alexandria Cordova’s family’s world was turned upside down after her birth in 2005 when she was diagnosed with Down syndrome and two life-threatening congenital heart conditions. Alexandria’s pediatrician detected a heart murmur and referred her to The Willson Heart Center at Children’s Hospital. An echocardiogram revealed major abnormalities.
“There were a lot of emotions,” said her father, Roy Cordova. “We didn’t know what was going on.”
“She had a combination of a severe case of the narrowing of the aorta, decreasing the blood flow to her lower body, and a very large hole in her heart,” said Dr. Edwin Petrossian, Children’s medical director of Cardiothoracic Surgery. “The combination of both of these conditions caused her heart to become enlarged and weakened.”
“She was hours, maybe days away from a life-threatening decomposition,” said Dr. Petrossian, who has extensive expertise in complex pediatric and congenital cardiovascular surgical repairs. “If she had not been referred here and seen early enough, she would have passed out, become pale and unresponsive, and gone into cardiac arrest.”
Alexandria was admitted to the Hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) where intensivist Dr. Adam Birek put her on medication, allowing her heart to get stronger in preparation for surgery.
Dr. Petrossian removed the narrow portion of Alexandria’s aorta and connected the wide portions above and below the narrow portion, allowing normal blood flow to her lower body. He also used a piece of the sack surrounding Alexandria’s heart to patch the hole. She was only two weeks old.
Children’s helped turn the family’s world right side up again. Touched by the care they received, the Cordovas donated $10,000 in 2006 and another $10,000 to The Campaign for Children’s in 2009.
“We can’t thank this Hospital enough,” said her mother, Michele. “We are grateful to Children’s for saving our daughter’s life and want to support the Hospital’s growth.”
Now 5, Alexandria is doing well and has no symptoms. She sees Dr. James Prochazka at The Willson Heart Center once a year and will need to be monitored by a cardiologist for the rest of her life.
“There are a lot of non-profits out there, but Children’s is right around the corner. You can see what your gift does,” said Roy. “There’s not enough we can do to give back to the Hospital, telling people about our experience goes a long way.”
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