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Thursday
Mar212019

Travel advice for nursing and pumping moms: What you should know

tzahiV/iStock(NEW YORK) -- You’re daydreaming about that beach vacation (or less-dreamy out-of-town conference). Just as you’re picturing the welcome distraction, that tight feeling in your breasts tells you it’s time to nurse or pump.

Moms familiar with the stresses (and joys) of living life lactating have probably heard about the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. They advocate exclusive breastfeeding the first six months of a baby’s life, but it’s hard work. Hopefully moms are able to create a routine at home and at work for everything to go smoothly: the gear, the schedule and the back-up plans.

But throw in a trip, and things get complicated. There isn’t much leeway when you’re in seat 12B with a screaming, hungry baby who needs to nurse, or when you’ve got to pump now to avoid getting the painful breast infection called mastitis. Women often have to prepare for travel as though it’s a wilderness trip, bringing nursing gear such as cushions and covers, breast pumps and coolers filled with cold or frozen milk.

Getting through the security line at an airport can be a hurdle. For mothers who pump, traveling with expressed breast milk isn’t supposed to be a hassle. The Transportation Security Administration has policies related to taking expressed milk through security: you just tell the TSA agent you’re carrying breast milk and they can do special screening to get it through.

But some women face major delays as a result, since agents may test the breast pumps or even request to test a small quantity of the milk for safety.

Adriana Hudson, a mother of three and marketing consultant from Connecticut, told ABC News that it was hard to go through security during a work trip with both colleagues and pumped milk.

“I had to place my breast milk in a separate bin, and it was awfully uncomfortable for my co-workers to have to wait while the TSA scrutinized it,” she said.

Others have an easier time, but it can vary from country to country.

ABC News spoke to Dr. Jonelle Haigh, an obstetrician, gynecologist and mother of two from North Carolina.

“In Mexico, I stepped up to security with my TSA policy in hand, prepared to say ‘leche materna’ and have my carry-on closely inspected,” she recounted. “But the TSA agent took one look inside my cooler with over 300 ounces of milk in storage bags and exclaimed, ‘Dios mio!’ (‘Oh my God!’). She then gave me two thumbs up and handed back my cooler, no questions asked. I smiled gratefully because not only is the struggle real, but it’s universal.”

What if you need to nurse or pump once you’re in the terminal? Depending on their level of comfort, some women choose to do it in the open or using a fabric nursing cover at their gate. Others who prefer more privacy have had to resort to an unsanitary airport bathroom in the past. But thanks to a new bill signed by President Donald Trump, airports are finally getting on board with supporting lactating moms.

The bill, FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, includes language that requires airports to provide lactation rooms that are accessible to the public and that are not bathrooms.

Some working moms successfully petitioned Amtrak to provide lactation facilities, resulting in Mamava lactation pods at some train stations. You can find those lactation spaces at many airports now, too. There’s even an app you can download to find your nearest non-bathroom pumping or nursing space.

So, let’s get down to it: What do you need to do before you go to the airport as a lactating woman?

1. Print out the TSA rules on breast milk and have them ready in the security line just in case your TSA agent is unfamiliar with what is allowed.

2. Look up the lactation facilities at the airport ahead of time if you plan to use them.

3. Review the specific airline rules on diaper bags and breast pump bags (after all, you won’t be checking them as luggage).

4. If you plan to nurse or pump in the open, bring whatever supplies are helpful -- such as a nursing cover, pillow, cleaning supplies and sealable bags for pump parts.

5. Traveling with pumped/frozen milk? Bring a cooler with enough ice packs to get through the trip.

6. What if airport security makes you toss your ice packs (even though they shouldn’t)? Don’t stress. Ask a restaurant in the terminal or your flight attendant for bags of ice.

Nothing about parenting is easy, and breastfeeding and pumping are no exceptions. But having to travel shouldn’t cramp your parenting style. Plan ahead, be proud of doing something for the health of your baby and keep making that “liquid gold” for your little one.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Mar212019

Woman tried FDA-approved postpartum depression drug: It felt 'like a cloud was lifted'

ABC(NEW YORK) -- Stephanie Hathaway, a mother of two, was suffering from postpartum depression after the birth of her second child when she decided to take part in a study for a drug to treat postpartum depression.

The drug, called Zulresso, is the first-ever medication made specifically for women suffering from postpartum depression (PPD). It was approved Tuesday by the Food and Drug Administration.

“The intrusive thoughts went away and they didn't come back,” Hathaway told ABC News' Good Morning America about the quick relief she felt after taking the drug. “I called my husband and I just remember him saying, ‘I haven’t heard the you in your voice for so long.’”

Zulresso (brexanolone), the new medication from Sage Therapeutics, is expected to be available for use under prescription and strict supervision as early as June.

Women with PPD will get a single, 60-hour intravenous (IV) infusion of Zulresso at a local health care facility, Sage Therapeutics Chief Medical Officer Steve Kanes told ABC News.

Zulresso could cost as much as $20,000 to $35,000 per treatment.

“It was very much like a cloud was lifted and I just remember walking out of the hospital and feeling like me again,” Hathaway told GMA.

Hathaway, 33, whose children are now 4 and 2 years old, said she had not even heard of postpartum depression before it happened to her.

“I was unable to make myself cook, unable to make myself clean, very difficult to take care of the baby,” said Hathaway, who also described being plagued by depressing thoughts playing on a loop in her head. “It was just a time of a lot struggle, a lot of hopelessness, and a lot of fear.”

About one in every nine women suffer from postpartum depression in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Women like Hathaway who suffer from PPD have more than just the more common “baby blues.” Symptoms of PPD may include depressed mood, difficulty bonding with your baby, intense anger or anxiety, fear that you’re not a good mother and thoughts of harming yourself or the baby, among other things.

Current treatment can include talk therapy or antidepressants, according to the National Institutes of Health. While a number of antidepressants may be helpful for PPD, they can take weeks to work.

Dr. Jennifer Ashton, ABC News' chief medical correspondent and a practicing OBGYN, said the immediate results of the drug Zulresso could be "potentially life-saving." She cited the logistics of the drug, including the cost, as its biggest drawback.

"This isn’t going to be something you can go to your pharmacy to get," Ashton said on GMA. "[Women] will not be able to breastfeed while they’re actually getting this infusion so they’ll have to pump and dump, as we say."

Of the 130 people who received brexanolone in the Phase III trials, five became excessively drowsy. Two women in the trials had serious adverse events, such as loss of consciousness and passing out, that were treatment related.

Zulresso is different from most antidepressants people use, both in the way it’s administered and in the way that it works. Instead of targeting serotonin, it is a progesterone metabolite that works through the GABA receptors in your brain.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Thursday
Mar212019

Chicago man doing well after video captured him getting transplant call

Michael DAgostino(CHICAGO) -- These days, Kevin D'Agostino is doing well, working out and traveling to downtown Chicago more and more.

D'Agostino, 32, plans to help his brother Michael with his job in commercial real estate and has been assisting his father, Mario, with his small business.

And D'Agostino is doing it all without his oxygen tank.

It's a far cry from the way his life looked just months ago.

In December 2018, D'Agostino, who lives in suburban Chicago, captured people's attention when his family shared video of his parents, Mario and Mary, waking him up with the news that he was getting a double lung transplant.

D'Agostino, who was born with cystic fibrosis, a progressive, genetic disease of the lungs, had been on a transplant list for six months. For the last two years, he had depended on oxygen, carrying a tank everywhere he went.

"You're getting new lungs, Kevin!" his parents told D'Agostino in the video on Dec. 5.

"No way!" D'Agostino said, waking up and throwing off his covers, a look of surprise on his face. "Mom, not tonight?!?!"

The video showed him hugging his parents excitedly. Later, his family posted video on social media of him singing happily on the way to the hospital.

"Yes, baby! I'm getting new lungs," he exclaimed.

In 2015, the D'Agostino family lost a daughter named Julie, who also had cystic fibrosis, due to complications from her second lung transplant.

Kevin D'Agostino spent nearly three weeks in the hospital recovering from the transplant.

At the end of December, however, his family, friends and entire neighborhood were outside his home as he returned, walking around without the oxygen tank. They welcomed him back, greeting him with cheers and hugs.

"It speaks to his determination," his mother, Mary, told the crowd of his recovery. "It speaks to his bravery and it speaks to his strength."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Mar202019

Four ways to spring clean your plate this season

wmaster890/iStock(NEW YORK) -- You want to eat healthier, but the question you may be struggling with is, "How?"

If cooking isn’t your thing or time is hard to come by, Dawn Jackson Blatner -- a registered dietitian nutritionist -- is here to share tips on how to spring clean your plate and instantly make healthier choices in your diet.

To help give your body a clean slate, these four quick-and-easy steps can kick-start your healthier body this spring and beyond:

1. Frozen green juice bags

Sipping on green juice floods tons of powerful nutrients into your body. However, most of us don’t have expensive juicers or enough time in the day to make fresh green juice every morning. But the "Frozen Green Juice Bags" hack is a fast and less-expensive way to enjoy the beverage.

Add these three ingredients into a single quart-sized bag and then store it in your freezer:

  • 1/2 lemon, peeled: Lemon contains immune-boosting vitamin C. Plus, sour foods may reset taste buds to help you crave less sweet stuff.
  • 1/2 cups of spinach: It seems like spinach is good for just about everything. It has disease-fighting antioxidants vitamins A, C and E; calcium and magnesium for bone health; iron and vitamin K for healthy blood; carotenoids for healthy eyes and skin; and potassium for heart health.
  • 1/2 cup of berries: Berries provide antioxidant-rich sweetness. Plus, they are fiber superstars.

When you want to enjoy a quick green juice, just blend the bagged contents with a cup of water for 15 seconds, creating a delicious, refreshing and sippable drink.

2. Snack makeovers

Healthy eating isn’t just about what we eat during meals -- we also have to factor in all the snacking we do.

Vegetables are the key to better-for-you snacking, but they don’t have to be boring. Here are some fun ways you can add more veggies to your daily diet:

Asparagus and prosciutto

Asparagus is a spring veggie, meaning it’s at its peak flavor and its lowest cost during the season. When combined with prosciutto, you can eat them raw or -- if you like heat -- can pop them into a broiler for 1-2 minutes.

Jicama and guacamole

Jicama -- which is high in both fiber and water -- is low-calorie, filling, extra-hydrating and tasty when skewered and paired with avocado-based guacamole.

Better spinach dip and veggies

Spinach dip makes snacking on vegetables more fun and more delicious. But be warned: traditional spinach dip is made with mayonnaise and sour cream, both of which can be packed with calories.

A better-for-you version is made with Greek yogurt, so not only is it lower in fat, but it’s also higher in protein.

3. Lighten up portions

It’s not enough to just choose healthier foods -- we also have to choose healthier amounts of what we eat.

Instead of obsessing with counting, measuring or tracking food, an easier way to monitor what you're consuming is to use the "visual wisdom" of your eyes.

To help do this, use a divided plate -- a trick that helped Blatner and contestant Jasmin win the weight-loss reality show My Diet is Better Than Yours.

Every time you eat, devote a fourth of your plate to protein, a fourth to whole grains or potatoes, half to vegetables, and add a little fat topping such as oil, dressing, cheese, nuts, seeds or avocado. This easy step will help you to better balance your meals.

Some sample menus you can enjoy on a divided plate include:

  • A burger with no bun, baked sweet potato fries, salad and dressing
  • Turkey meatballs, quinoa-based pasta, pasta sauce and broccoli, and Parmesan
  • Grilled chicken strips, brown rice, stir-fry veggies and crushed peanuts

4. Sugar cleanout

One of the hardest habits to give up is caving into your sweet tooth.

When you aren’t eating sugar, fat from healthy places such as nut butter can help you feel satisfied. And when you aren’t eating sugar, fruit has natural sweetness that can help you feel satisfied.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Mar202019

Girl gives bald American Girl dolls to young cancer patients

Valerie Fricker/Peace Love Bracelets Foundation(ALPHARETTA, Ga.) -- An 11-year-old is spreading smiles by delivering bald American Girl dolls to kids fighting cancer.

With help from her mom, Bella Fricker, 11, of Alpharetta, Georgia, raises money to buy the dolls and delivers them to hospitalized patients.

"I'm very proud of her," mom Valerie Fricker told ABC News' Good Morning America. "She loves meeting the little girls and giving them dolls."

Fricker, a mom of three, said Bella launched the Peace Love Bracelets Foundation over a year ago.

The fifth grader began making bracelets and selling them on Fricker's personal Facebook page. Within a few hours, she raised $300 and was able to purchase three dolls.

"It became so excessive, we couldn't keep up with it," Fricker said, adding that Bella still makes bracelets but has primarily moved on to holding fundraising events.

Fricker said Bella developed a desire to help kids with cancer after a friend of hers lost her life after fighting the disease.

So far, Bella has gifted 38 dolls to children. She's made visits to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Texas Children's Hospital, Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Egleston in Georgia and more.

Nevaeh Williams, a 10-year-old from Atlanta, is currently in remission after fighting a rare cancer called desmoplastic small round cell tumor, or DSRCT. Nevaeh received a bald American Girl doll from Bella in 2017 at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Egleston while she was undergoing her second round of chemotherapy, her mother Alana Williams told GMA.

"She has always wanted an American Girl doll and she really needed it in that moment," Williams said. "She brought the doll with her during her treatment and it comforted her."

Williams went on, "She's currently six months cancer free. Now that her hair has grown back we'll add hair to the doll."

Fricker said Bella is doing a large fundraising event in September and hopes to buy more dolls. Bella has Type 1 diabetes and would like to give American Girl diabetes care kits, which is made for dolls, to kids who also have diabetes.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Mar192019

New medication could help moms with postpartum depression

Highwaystarz-Photography/iStockBY: DR. LINDA DROZDOWICZ

(NEW YORK) -- For most mothers a new baby is the most wonderful thing in the world. But for one in nine new mothers, that joy can be rapidly diminished by the crippling menace of postpartum depression (PPD).

Zulresso (brexanolone), a new medication from Sage Therapeutics, may help. The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved the first medication specifically for PPD and the company anticipates it will be available for use under prescription and strict supervision as early as June.

PPD is more than your run of the mill “baby blues.” Symptoms of PPD may include depressed mood, difficulty bonding with your baby, intense anger or anxiety, fear that you’re not a good mother and thoughts of harming yourself or the baby, among other things.

Current treatment can include talk therapy or antidepressants, according to the National Institutes of Health. While a number of antidepressants may be helpful for PPD, they can take weeks to work.

Sage Therapeutics Chief Medical Officer Steve Kanes told ABC News that his company's medication will be a quicker fix: women with PPD will get a single, 60-hour intravenous (IV) infusion of Zulresso at a local health care facility.

The results in Phase III trials of the drug have been positive.

“It works over and over and over. There have been no failed results,” said Kanes.

Of the 130 people who received brexanolone in the Phase III trials, five became excessively drowsy. Two women in the trials had serious adverse events, such as loss of consciousness and passing out, that were treatment related.

“Because of the potential for near loss of consciousness or loss of consciousness, the FDA in November publicly stated it would like to administer a REMS program for Zulresso,” Dr. Kristina Deligiannidis, the director of Women’s Behavioral Health at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, New York, told ABC News. Deligiannidis was involved in Phase II and Phase III of the clinical trials.

According to the FDA, REMS is a drug safety program that can be required for certain medications with serious safety concerns to help ensure the benefits of the medication outweigh its risks.

Nicole Cirino, a psychiatrist who specializes in pregnant and postpartum women and the director of the division of Women’s Mental Health and Wellness at Oregon Health & Science University, worries about initial access to the Zulresso medication.

“I think it’s a huge deal and I have very little concern about safety," Cirino, who was not affiliated with the study, told ABC News. "Logistics and access will be the bigger issue. It’s a psychiatric medication requiring an inpatient facility like an obstetrical or general hospital floor, and that is expensive, so insurance companies will put up barriers.”

Zulresso could cost as much as $20,000 $35,000 per treatment.

As for being hooked up to an IV for nearly three days, Cirino said that should not deter some women.

“I think a lot of women are concerned about having to take a daily antidepressant that doesn’t work for three to five weeks, so this might appeal to some women in that it has a fast response," she said. "The placebo response in this trial was pretty high. For a mom to come in and get that attention and help with her child over 60 hours with a benefit at the end is OK.”

Zulresso is different from most antidepressants people use, both in the way it’s administered and in the way that it works. Instead of targeting serotonin, it is a progesterone metabolite that works through the GABA receptors in your brain.

Stephanie Hathaway, a mother of two who participated in a brexanolone trial as a patient, said she experienced immediate results from the medication.

“It was a painless experience,” she told ABC News. "I did things I hadn’t done in six months [of PPD]. I called my husband and he said, 'I haven’t heard the ‘you’ in your voice in so long.'”

Linda Drozdowicz, M.D., is a fellow in child and adolescent psychiatry at Yale Child Study Center and member of the ABC News Medical Unit.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Mar192019

15-pound newborn baby girl a 'double miracle'

Joy Buckley(ELMIRA, N.Y.) -- There's so much about Harper Buckley to love.

The 15-pound baby born on March 12 at Arnot Ogden Medical Center in Elmira, New York, is a "double miracle," her mom told "Good Morning America."

Joy and Norman Buckley struggled to conceive.

"I was only ever given a 15 percent chance of getting pregnant naturally without the help of IVF," Joy Buckley said. "So when my husband and I found out in May of 2016 that we were expecting our first little miracle, we were overjoyed."

The couple are also parents to Heaven, 7 and Chase, 2.

"Then when we found out we were pregnant with Harper it became the second miracle because the likelihood of it happening twice was even less than the first time." Joy Buckley told "GMA."

The other miracle: On a family vacation, the family was hit by a tractor trailer. "That included baby Harper who at the time we didn't know we were expecting," she said.

As for Harper's adorable chubbiness, it wasn't expected.

"The last ultrasound showed 12 pounds, and 11 ounces. But she was much bigger than anticipated." said Buckley, whose pregnancy was monitored very closely because she is a type 2 diabetic.

Harper is currently in the NICU, her dad, Norman Buckley, told "GMA." She may be home at the end of the week.

"She is improving daily," her mom said. "We are just waiting on the oxygen levels to improve and her to be able to bottle feed. I will be so happy when we can go home as a family. I miss my other two children and cannot wait to be home together."

Her dad said, "She's a blessing to our whole family."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Mar192019

Apple Watch can help doctors diagnose atrial fibrillation, researchers say

rvolkan/iStockBY: DR. LEILA HAGHIGHAT

(NEW YORK) -- Last year, Ed Dentel’s Apple Watch informed him that he had an irregular heartbeat. It was right, and potentially saved his life

Now scientists are revealing the research behind the innovative technology. Their study, funded by Apple, Inc., was presented at a conference of the American College of Cardiology.

Stanford researchers have shown that the watches can detect atrial fibrillation, a dangerous heart rhythm that has the potential to cause stroke. Atrial fibrillation is the most common abnormal heart rhythm, and affects up to 6 million people in the U.S. Often, those affected have no symptoms, or experience mild palpitations in the chest. For some, the first sign is a debilitating stroke.

In atrial fibrillation, the heart does not beat in a synchronized, regular way. Instead, it quivers. Blood can pool in the upper chambers of the heart, and because it is more stagnant than usual, a clot can form. If the clot dislodges from within the heart, it can go to the brain and cause a stroke. Up to 20 percent of strokes that involve inadequate blood flow to the brain are due to atrial fibrillation.

The study on the Apple Watches enrolled over 400,000 adults who already owned an iPhone 5S or a newer version, along with an Apple Watch Series 1-3.

Participants downloaded an app on their phones that used the watch’s light sensors to monitor their heart rate over about 8 months. If the app detected 5 successive irregular heartbeats, it set off an alarm, alerting patients to contact a doctor through the app. Those who did so were then sent a patch that they wore for about one week to record their heart’s electric activity with an electrocardiogram, or EKG. This could confirm whether there was truly atrial fibrillation present or not. After the patch was sent back and analyzed, a phone discussion was held with a doctor to review the results.

Only 0.5 percent of people set off an alarm. The researchers concluded that, if people received an alarm notification, they were 84 percent likely to have atrial fibrillation. Based on survey data collected at end of study, over half of the people who received notifications eventually contacted a provider outside the study. About one-third started a new medication and were referred to a specialist for further care.

“We as clinicians, the onus is on us to start understanding the technology that patients are coming to us with,” Dr. Marco Perez, a Stanford electrophysiologist and author of the study, said at a press conference.

There was concern among cardiologists at the conference that the Apple Watch would have limited appeal for clinical use, considering the starting price at $279.

The International Data Corporation (IDC), an independent agency, has estimated that Apple sold over 8 million watches in the last three months.

The Stanford researchers are still looking into what other abnormal heart rhythms were detected beside atrial fibrillation, and are interested in studying whether the Apple Watch can contribute to the number of strokes prevented.

While more research needs to be done before cardiologists can entirely rely on Apple Watches to detect atrial fibrillation, it is a potential warning system for those that have the watch.

If you suspect you have an irregular heartbeat you should see your physician, who can recommend further testing.

Dr. Leila Haghighat is an internal medicine resident from Yale New Haven Hospital who also works with the ABC News Medical Unit.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Mar192019

Doctor shares his top five foods to eat to help fight disease

ALEAIMAGE/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The age-old saying goes "you are what you eat," but one doctor is out with a new book that is taking that notion a step further, arguing that some foods you eat can help you beat disease.

Dr. William Li talked about his new book, Eat to Beat Disease, in an interview with ABC News' Good Morning America, saying we have completely underestimated the role that the foods we eat can play in combating illness. Plus, he shares his top five foods to go for the next time you hit up the supermarket.

"The time has come now to really ... get rid of that confusion between food and health," Li said. "Our bodies respond to what we put inside it."

"We can take food seriously like we take medicine using the same rigor, using the same science, using the same demand for evidence," he added.

Li's book doesn't contain a weight-loss program and isn't about what to avoid, rather it's a guide to integrate some of the hundreds of health-boosting foods that he says research shows can starve cancer, reduce your risk of dementia and help fight dozens of avoidable diseases.

If there is one thing Li wants people to take away from the book, he says it is to eat more fresh, plant-based foods and less processed foods.

Dr. Li's top five foods to help fight disease:

Soy

"Soy's developed a scary reputation because some people believe that an estrogen-like compound that's found in soy can cause breast cancer," Li said, adding that new research, however, "is completely turning that fact around."

Soy contains a plant estrogen that is "nothing like human estrogen," he explained. "In fact, it can counter its effects," he added.

Dark chocolate

Dessert lovers, rejoice. Dark chocolate, in moderation, can actually be good for you, according to Li.

"Chocolate contains these polyphenols that actually can help activate cells in our body, including our stem cells," Li said.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a "great source of vitamins and other nutrients, and they contain lycopene," Li said. "Lycopene is an anti-angiogenic and blood vessel, cancer-starving substance."

Sourdough bread

Sourdough is made with a "natural bacteria called lactobacillus rudori," according to Li. This bacteria "actually helps to build our immune system," he added, making it a great choice if you are looking for a healthy bread option.

Mango

Mangoes are "amazing" according to Li, "because they actually activate all five of our health defense systems at the same time."

Li said the goal of his method is to activate those five health defense systems in your body by eating five disease-fighting foods five times a day.

"It's about diversity. It's about having choice," he said. "Check off the ones that you already like, then ... you have a head start on health because you're starting with what you love."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Mar192019

Toddler undergoes open-heart surgery to put a 'winter coat' inside her heart

Northwestern Medicine(WINFIELD, Ill.) -- Illinois toddler Eloise Hoffman is all set for the cold weather after a "winter coat" was placed inside her heart during surgery when she was just a few days old.

"I like to tell people that she's got a little winter coat in there, keeping her heart warm," her father Matt Hoffman said of a piece of Gore-Tex, a material commonly used in jackets and coats, that was used on Eloise's heart.

It all started when doctors detected that Eloise had a heart murmur during a regular appointment three weeks after she was born. When they went back for a checkup, they knew it was serious.

"We were like, 'Do we schedule a follow-up?,' and [the doctor] said, 'No, you have to go to the hospital now. We may chopper you in or via ambulance.' So then it all sort of sunk in," Hoffman recalled.

Eloise was diagnosed with truncus arteriosus, a rare condition where she was born with only one blood vessel to pump blood out of her heart instead of the usual two. This often causes oxygenated and non-oxygenated blood to mix together, and can cause the lungs to fill with fluid.

"Typically, if this is left untreated, usually this is fatal. Usually within the first year of life," pediatric cardiologist Michael Perez said of Eloise's condition.

Needless to say, her parents were worried.

"Three weeks after she was born, she was going to have this [open-heart] surgery ... so that was terrifying," Eloise's mother Krista Hoffman said.

But the surgery went off without a hitch at Lurie Children's at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, and her parents couldn't be more proud of their resilient little daughter, who just happens to have a small piece of Gore-Tex in her heart now.

The Gore-Tex acts as a conduit to compensate for her singular pathway out of the heart.

"It's like a Columbia coat ... it's visually the same thing. It's all taken care of," Matt Hoffman joked.

She will probably have to have another surgery as she outgrows her current conduit but it's doing great now.

"She's an amazing little munchkin. She's gone through a lot," her mom said. "I think her scar is awesome. I think she should wear it with pride. I think it's a amazing what she went through. She's like a little fireball."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.







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