Three heart valve surgeries help Austin girl live a normal life | Ascension
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Three heart valve surgeries help Austin girl live a normal life


Dell Children’s heart team repaired an Austin newborn’s heart valve in three surgeries to help her live a normal life.

Kristen Salomi had no complaints during her third pregnancy. The mother of three was raising two boys, so she was excited to discover she would add a girl to the Salomi's growing family.

Her daughter, Mackenzie, was born a few days before Kristen was 35 weeks pregnant. Therefore, her daughter had to spend some time in the NICU before going home. "About three days in, the nurse practitioner said, 'Hey, her murmur sounds really loud. Let's take a little echocardiogram and make sure everything's okay,'" she said. A cardiologist explained that Mackenzie's heart valve needed some attention and was referred to Dell Children's Medical Center, an Ascension Seton hospital.

The care team developed a treatment plan for Mackenzie to have an endoscopic procedure to fix her heart. "It was just scary to think about this tiny little human being that was only about five pounds for her first procedure, and maybe 10 or 12 pounds for her second, having all this stuff done to her heart and losing blood and having blood transfusions," Kristen explained.

Although it was a scary time for Kristen, it was comforting to know her daughter was receiving care at Dell Children's, which was closer to home. "[Dell Children's is] down the road, and we could bring her home post-surgery and know that we were close enough to get back to the hospital if need be," she said.

Kristen appreciated the time and care Mackenzie's heart team took to explain everything going on with her daughter's heart and the steps to get her better. Kristen recalled times when the doctor would draw diagrams and pull up pictures to explain better the care her daughter would receive. "We're just very blessed, and we have the best doctors. Some of our doctors are like family to us now," she said.

Heart care for children at any age

When your child is facing a new diagnosis or you are deciding on a surgical care plan for your child, there's a lot to think about. Pediatric cardiovascular specialists at Dell Children's can provide a second opinion based on our experience and as part of a national team of providers. Get the confidence and peace of mind that your child's doctor and care plan is right for your family. Talk with one of our doctors for a second opinion by calling 855-324-0091 for an appointment.