A Good Start!

Four surgeries were successfully performed on Monday. Dr. Paz was the lead surgeon on all four cases, supported by Dr. Steve Leonard and Dr. Hisashi Nikaidoh. Dr. Leonard exclaimed to Dr. Paz that Proyecto Corzones Pequeños (Little Hearts Project) was probably the only pediatric heart center in the world where four PDAs were performed on Monday.

What’s a PDA? In layman’s terms, a PDA is a type of congenital heart defect. Before birth, the two major arteries—the aorta and the pulmonary artery—are connected by a blood vessel called the ductus arteriosus. This vessel is an essential part of fetal blood circulation. Shortly after birth, the vessel is supposed to close as part of the normal changes occurring in the baby's circulation. (www.nhlbi.nih.org)

In some babies, however, the ductus arteriosus remains open (patent). This opening allows oxygen-rich blood from the aorta to mix with oxygen-poor blood from the pulmonary artery. This can put strain on the heart and increase blood pressure in the lung arteries. These children often suffer from frequent respiratory infections, failure to thrive, and poor eating habits.

Dr. Hector Fonseca coordinated and oversaw efforts to get these children into Little Hearts; some of them having waited many years for the surgery.

Honduran medical professionals led the way in caring for these little patients. All team members complimented the efforts and dedication of the Hondurans and were excited to see the dream of a sustainable, permanent pediatric cardiac unit progressing!

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