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

Heart specialist has watched hospital grow, learned about deer hunting in the past 10 years

Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin-Fox Valley is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2011. As a pediatric heart specialist, I have seen real growth at the hospital during that time. I came here from Chicago. The adjustment from the bustling city to the quiet community of Neenah took me some getting used to, but I love it.

When I started at Children’s Hospital-Fox Valley in January 2002, the clinics had about 160 patients and all of the clinics’ charts could fit on one rolling cart. Now, the charts fill a …Click here to continue reading

To act or not to act? There should be no question

I’m proud to say I’m the father of three athletes. I’m lucky to say that none of my children have fallen victim to sudden cardiac arrest. But, what if this did happen? What if I wasn’t there? Would someone know how to help?

In addition to my role as dad, I also am a cardiologist at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. One of the programs we offer is Project ADAM, an initiative that helps schools recognize …Click here to continue reading

Children’s Hospital employees Go Red for heart disease and stroke awareness

You may have noticed a red hue illuminating the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin hallways this month. You also may have noticed employees wearing red throughout Children’s Hospital and Health System. These efforts support the fight against heart disease and stroke.

Heart disease is the number one killer of both women and men. The Go Red initiative draws awareness to this and encourages people to take action to decrease their …Click here to continue reading

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.

…Click here to continue reading

The power of hope and perseverance

When people are forced to live with the fact of their mortality every day, they have two options. They can give up – after all, what’s the point in planning for the future when doctors predict that you don’t have long to live. Or, they can live with it, accept some limitations, but refuse to give up on their dreams. Dr. Pip Hidestrand, a resident at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, is an example of the latter case. This is her story.

I was born with a congenital heart defect and lung disease. By the age of 4 I had undergone three open heart surgeries and, as a result, I have spent my entire life aware of my precarious existence. While many physicians told my parents that I would not live past my teenage years, I did not let this deter me from my ambition to pursue a career in …Click here to continue reading