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February 8th, 2017

Vivian’s Heart Journey

By judy12

The chances of winning the Powerball are 1 in 992 Billion. The chances of having a child with a heart defect are 1 in 100. About 1 out of every 100 babies (approximately 40,000) born each year in the US have some type of Congenital Heart Defect (CHD). Each year worldwide, 100,000 babies under the age of one, will not live to celebrate their first birthday. The cause of most congenital heart defects is unknown.

Vivian is 1 in 100. She was diagnosed with a complex case of CHD that required a series of open heart surgeries; the first of which was when she was 10 days old, weighing a mere 4 lbs, in UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital. The procedure went well, but as her parents would experience, it was just the beginning. At 14 days old, and 4 days post op, she arrested for 30 minutes. She was saved by the grace of God, and the incredible skill of her surgeons and the PICU staff.

While most newborns went home with their parents, Vivian spent the first six months of her life in the NICU, fighting for survival. In a span of five years, Vivian had a total of three open heart surgeries and numerous cardiac interventions. As any CHD parent would say, recovering from these surgeries was not a walk in the park. It took many nervous days and long nights but Vivian never gave up.

Now age 5 1/2, Vivian's zest for life is unstoppable! She has a purple belt in karate, enjoys singing and dancing to Katy Perry songs, and loves to color! Vivian has a heart of gold for her friends and family! As a way of saying thank you to the doctors, nurses and staff at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital, Vivian and her twin sister Victoria organized a toy drive at their preschool. In August 2016, Vivian and Victoria presented the toys to the hospital and the UCLA Children's Heart Center, in the hope that the children would enjoy them just as much as Vivian enjoyed the toys she received during her stay.

Under the care of Dr. Mark Sklansky and the staff at the UCLA Children's Heart Center, Vivian is now on track to live a happy, healthy and long life full of opportunity and adventure,

Tags: cardiac interventions, congenital heart defect, Dr. Mark Sklansky, heart defect, NICU, open heart surgeries, patient stories, Pediatric Cardiology, Pediatric Surgery, Pediatrics, PICU, Surgery, UCLA Children's Heart Center, UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital

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