Local Family And Doctor Puts Emphasis On Heart Health For Newborns

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI)-  February is “Heart Health Month” and while much of the focus is on what adults can do to improve their heart health, parents of babies and toddlers can also take steps to help ensure their child’s well being.

Two year old Nora Grace knows Doctor Frank Osei.  The pediatric cardiologist has treated Nora since she was a few months old.  Weeks after Nora’s birth, her mom and dad noticed she wasn’t eating right, and her breathing seemed shallow at times.

“I was just kind of in denial , I was like, she’s fine,  I was like a first time mom,” Nora’s mother, Laura, said.

But after running more tests, doctors told Bradley and Laura Starling that their daughter had a heart murmur, and needed an echo cardiogram.   Doctor Osei, who practices with the “Children’s of Mississippi ” Tupelo Clinic, discovered a serious issue.

“In this case we noticed it was a hole in the heart,” Dr. Osei said.

Nora underwent heart surgery when she was 11 months.  The procedure took place at Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson.

Surgery and recovery went well and now Nora Grace has yearly checkups.

Doctor Osei says with ultrasound technology, many pediatric heart defects can be detected in the womb.

“I would encourage mothers, as soon as they notice they are pregnant, see an obstetrician, and obstetrician will monitor them, typically they send them over after the 18 to 20 weeks ultra sound, look over and suspect there’s a heart condition,” he said.

Sometimes, the condition can be treated in the womb, or a plan of action can be developed and implemented right after the baby is born.

Nora’s mother says she’s grateful for Doctor Osei , and the care and compassion her daughter has received from the local clinic.

“He’s been a very big help to us and he’s always taken time to make sure we understand everything, and what we needed to do next and he’s always been available for us if we needed anything,” Laura said.

Doctor Osei says solid prenatal care and proactive parents can help ensure a newborn is heart healthy.

And Doctor Osei encourages parents to make sure their children get plenty of exercise as they are growing up, and practice healthy eating habits.

Categories: Local News

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