My family knows the impact of congenital heart disease

When I was 4, I was diagnosed with an ostium primum atrial defect, a hole in the area between the two upper chambers of my heart. I had open-heart surgery at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin to repair the heart defect. My brother, Jim, passed away at age of 20 from complications of congenital heart disease, and my daughter, Cassie, 5, had open-heart surgery …Continue reading this post

A Kid at Heart: Living with Congenital Heart Disease as an Adult

Jenni Sego and Cassie

Jenni, 39, was born with ostium primum atrial defect (a hole in the heart) and her daughter Cassie, 4, also was born with a heart defect. Both are patients at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s Herma Heart Center.

I was first diagnosed with a heart defect in 1975 when I was 4 years old. I had open-heart surgery to repair a large hole between the two chambers. I grew up a very normal kid and never considered myself to be someone with a heart problem.

More than three decades later in 2008, it was discovered through an employee of mine that I had very high blood pressure …190/100! I tried to justify it with being a mom working third shift and chasing three kids around. At the urging of my family and the employee, I went to see my primary care doctor who immediately said I needed to see a cardiologist. I have not been to one since I was a child. I remembered my mom telling me about the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. She said Dr. Michael Earing was the person to see.

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