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Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA): Chelsea Amahan story

written by mom

Chelsea was born at 37 weeks on March 13, 2021, via cesarean section. During her hospital stay, the pediatrician noticed her abdomen was distended and swollen. The physician discovered that Chelsea had an intestinal infection. She was diagnosed with Necrotizing Entercolitis, stage 2.  Consequently, Chelsea remained in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for a month to undergo treatment, various tests and monitor her condition. We experienced profound sadness and emptiness during this period. She was then diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. The cardiologist informed us that Chelsea had a Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) and recommended genetic counseling to assess her Down syndrome likelihood. This news left us devastated. 

For a year, Chelsea's PDA was monitored, initially lasting three months before being extended. She was on medication. Despite the extension, her PDA remained open. The doctor advised a surgical intervention to close it, as failure to do so may lead to heart failure. 

The cardiologist advised us to consider surgery for the PDA closure, explaining the procedure and the estimated high cost. This financial burden, coupled with Chelsea's fragile state at such a young age, weighed heavily on our hearts. The situation became challenging due to financial constraints for the operation. 

The cardiologist suggested  organizations that could provide assistance for babies with heart issues. She provided us with the foundation's contact information for further inquiry. We were overjoyed when a foundation covered all expenses for Chelsea's PDA closure surgery at Delos santos Medical Center (DLSMC), performed via catheterization in September 2022 when she was 1 and a half years old.

Prior to Chelsea's surgery, she underwent a 2D Echo examination at National Childrens Hospital. On September 6, she got admitted to the hospital at Delos santos Medical Center (DLSMC), where she had the surgery on September 7. Chelsea was discharged on September 8. A week later, she had another 2D Echo to evaluate the status of her device closure.

I earnestly prayed to God, asking for strength and guidance for Chelsea during her device closure operation. As I was praying, I realized I had skipped breakfast, consumed by my anxiety for the procedure. Upon arriving at the operating room, I was asked to assist in placing Chelsea on the table. The doctors kept me informed while they administered anesthesia to Chelsea. I was then asked to wait in the waiting area.

During this time, I fervently prayed to Sr. Santo Niño, Mama Mary, Lord of Pardon, Archbishop Teofilo Camomot, and the Holy Spirit for Chelsea's well-being, a swift and successful operation, and her heart to remain strong. After 20 minutes, Dr. Go came out, informing us that Chelsea was fine, the PDA was closed, and she was in the recovery room. Overwhelmed with emotion, I couldn't hold back my tears. I entered the recovery room, anxiously waiting for Chelsea to regain consciousness. As she slowly woke up, her skin turned gray due to the low temperature. I carefully picked her up and made sure her legs were properly positioned, avoiding any interference with the closure site. After approximately 3 hours, Chelsea opened her eyes and became more alert. We were relieved to hear her heartbeat with a stethoscope, which was normal and without any murmurs. I couldn't help but feel grateful to God for providing us with the right people who helped Chelsea through her PDA closure. I expressed my deepest thanks to the Almighty for keeping Chelsea safe and ensuring a successful operation.

The surgery was successful, and now, at 2 years and 11 months old, Chelsea is very healthy and bubbly. She continues to receive annual follow-up check-ups with her cardiologist. 

We are profoundly grateful for Chelsea's successful heart operation, the compassionate support from the foundation, the skilled medical professionals, and the continuous care provided by her cardiologist. This experience has strengthened resilience, our faith in humanity and the power of collective kindness.


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