Best Life: Saving hearts from birth to beyond

Best Life: Saving hearts from birth to beyond

DENVER, Colo. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Holes in your heart. Blocked valves and narrow arteries. The fact is… if you were born 40 years ago with one of these problems, you probably would not live to be a teenager.

Today, congenital heart defects, or CHD’s, are still the most common birth defects. Eight in a thousand newborns are diagnosed with it. For the first time, more and more are living into their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Now, modern medicine is giving these children hope.

You can bet… Camden Thuringe’s mom and dad always have his back. He’s been a regular of pediatric cardiologist, Abhay Divekar since he was just hours old.

“He was born, and he was really blue,” said Jenny Thuringe, Camden’s mom.

“The right lower chamber of the heart going to the lungs was completely blocked,” explained Abhay Divekar, MD, MEDNAX-affiliated Pediatric & Adult Congenital Heart Cardiologist, Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

Dr. Divekar used radiofrequency energy to create a pathway… saving Camden’s life. The Thuringe’s followed Dr. Divekar from a hospital in Iowa City, to a hospital in Kansas City and then to Denver, where he works now. On this day, it took them 12 hours to drive from Kansas.

“I’d rather stay with one doctor where he knows everything inside of his heart,” Jenny shared.

Meanwhile, it took Veronica Dean 40 years to find the right doctor.

“I had surgery at five months old,” said Veronica.

Born missing a ventricle, she was told no sports… don’t push it.

“I’ve always had the mentality of I’m limited,” continued Veronica.

Veronica saw doctors without a history of treating teens or adults with CHD.

Dr. Divekar shared, “Adult cardiologists are good in cardiology, but that spectrum of heart disease is very different.”

He was one of the first in the country to be certified as a pediatric and adult congenital heart disease cardiologist.

“He gave me a new outlook at life,” smiled Veronica.

And Camden will need his heart valve replaced someday so he can continue doing what he loves.

“Football, basketball…” smiled Camden.

“He’s still perfect to us, but he just has a broken heart,” Jenny said.

But don’t tell him that! Camden is full of heart!

Just four years ago, the American Board of Internal Medicine recognized the need for a sub-specialty of adult congenital heart disease and administered the first board certification.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; and Rusty Reed, Videographer.

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