05 6 / 2012
Perfect Valentine- Heart Awareness Month now means much more for local family and their baby
L-V Staff Writer
SOUTH BETHLEHEM - As many people associate February with hearts, love and treats, this year, one local family has a greater appreciation for the month that extends beyond the geometric shapes and material gifts.
February is the month of National Heart Awareness. Also, Feb. 7-14 is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week. Recently, Kisha Mangiantini of South Bethlehem and her family have realized the importance of heart disease awareness after her daughter was born with a potentially life-threatening heart defect.
On Dec. 26, Mangiantini and her husband, Cory, welcomed their daughter, Meadow Rayne, weighing 6 pounds, 13 ounces and 19 inches long. She was born with a congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot.
TOF accounts for 10 percent of all congenital heart diseases. The disease is a combination of four defects: a hole in the ventricular septum, a narrowed passage between the right ventricle and pulmonary artery, a shift in the connection of the aorta to the heart and thickened muscle in the right ventricle.
Mangiantini said that she experienced a relatively normal pregnancy.
“Nothing redflagged [the doctors] about it,” she said.
Upon Meadow’s first exam, the pediatrician found a murmur in her heart. Less than 12 hours old, she was flown to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh where she was diagnosed. She had open-heart surgery when she was eight days old. The surgeons were able to repair everything in one surgery.
“They weren’t sure if they were able to get it all in one go,” Mangiantini said.
Meadow was released from the hospital after 20 days with a feeding tube that was only needed for a few days.
Mangiantini praised the doctors and nurses at Children’s Hospital for the care they gave her daughter.
“They were so wonderful,” she said.
One in 100 babies have some sort of birth defect. Many hospitals and doctors do not check newborn’s oxygen levels unless they suspect a problem. A pulse oximetry, or pulse ox, is a non-invasive and painless test used to measure the percent oxygen saturation of hemoglobin in the arterial blood and the pulse rate.
Most of the time, a pulse ox is performed on babies after the first 24 hours; however, if the doctors’ performed it before hospital discharge at 24 hours, it may detect more congenital heart defects.
“I don’t think people are aware of the issues that can arise in infants,” Mangiantini said.
While the infant was in the hospital, the family would update the status of her health through Facebook. Mangiantini said the family would post updates and within a few hours, the posts would receive more than a hundred comments showing care and concern.
“It would make me cry,” she said.
Mangiantini also said the family received an outpouring of support from strangers through a variety of connections. Also, Meadow was placed on several churches’ prayer lists from around the country, thanks to family and friends.
Meadow’s outlook is promising, her mother said this week. Currently, the infant has monthly appointments with a pediatric cardiologist, pediatrician and developmental clinic. As she grows older, she may tire quicker than other children her age. She also may need one to two more surgeries over the course of her lifetime, but as technology and science continue to improve, the procedures may be less invasive.
Although caring for an infant with a medical condition may be stressful, the situation has brought the couple and Meadow’s siblings, Kaitlyn, Andrew and Gunner, closer together as a family.
“She was the glue that brought the whole family together. She completed our family,” Mangiantini said.
This February, as individuals express thoughts of love to one another, the Mangiantini family is appreciating their gift and showing their gratitude for those who showed them love and support.
“Our family sends a huge thank you to each of you that took the time to write, send a card, say a prayer, or sent her gifts. We are forever appreciative of all that you have done and given to help us and Meadow.”
Permalink 1 note