Pediatric cardiologist Tankut Onal, M.D., was part of the team to diagnose Caden Paul’s heart defect just hours after birth.
arteries can stretch over time and get narrow. So he’ll probably need lifelong follow-up. But the outcomes in these cases are good.” RAISING AWARENESS While transposition of the great arteries is rare, Dr. Onal notes that congenital heart problems are not. One out of 100 babies will be born with some kind of congenital heart disease. Of those cases, 35 to 40 percent will be problems involving cyanosis. “I always tell the nurses here that we have 3,000 to 4,000 deliveries a year, so we will end up with 30 to 40 babies with heart dis- ease,” Dr. Onal says. “Ten to 20 of those cases will be cyanotic heart disease.” To that end, the BirthPlace instituted a program to screen all babies for cyanotic heart disease using pulse oximetry to measure the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream. The level is checked three times and, if it continues to be low, an echocardiogram is automatically ordered.
discovered that the catheterization hadn’t opened the hole in Caden’s heart enough. That explained why he had such difficulty every time they had tried to decrease the oxygen. Caden remained at Miami Children’s Hospital for an additional nine days. Once Caden came home to Naples, Dr. Onal began performing follow-up echo-
cardiograms on him to ensure his heart was healing properly. Despite having to face such big prob- lems so shortly after being born, Caden appears to have weathered the storm. Dr. Onal reports that Caden’s prognosis is very good. “Complications can happen,” he acknowledges. “Scar tissue can form at the attachment points. The coronary
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Naples Health | JANUARY-MARCH 2013
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