By submitting your story and/or photo to ACHA, you are giving permission for your story and/or photo to be displayed on our website. The stories on this page are the property of the individual who has provided it. Stories may be edited for content. The experiences and opinions expressed are solely those of the individual, and do not reflect the opinions of the Adult Congenital Heart Association or any employee thereof. ACHA is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied within these stories.

These stories are presented for informational purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Always consult your physicians with your questions and concerns.

Express Yourself

Author: Created: 11/19/2012 1:22 PM

We know that you have a lot to say about living with congenital heart disease. To share your story (in 500 words or less) with other members of the ACHA community, click here. Thank you in advance!
By CaptainCardio on 8/22/2013 9:48 AM
My story begins near the wheat fields and red flecked buttes of Western North Dakota where I was born on a hot summer day in 1975. In fact, it was so hot that day that the air conditioning in the hospital had quit working and as my mother was laboring with me, the repairmen were working around her bedside. When I was born, the pediatrician knew something was not right with me, but he was not quite sure what the problem was.
By CaptainCardio on 8/16/2013 2:03 PM
 I was a Blue Baby. My Cardiologist did a Balloon Catheterization (very experimental at the time) which is now known as Angioplasty. When I was 2, I had my first open heart operation to correct the defect.
By CaptainCardio on 7/16/2013 2:59 PM
The Shock of My Life Being born with a heart defect was just a blessing from God. A 37 year old man's story of living with CHD.
By CaptainCardio on 4/17/2013 9:50 AM
Hello, I am a 43 year old who was born with interrupted aortic arch type A and a VSD. I have had heart surgery 4 times, two in childhood to repair the IAA and one to repair the VSD, and then again recently.
By CaptainCardio on 4/15/2013 9:45 AM

How-to guide for Truncus Arteriosus:


1. Be born with one outgoing valve, one ventricle, and a heartbeat that sounds “like a washing machine.” Through surgery, receive a VSD patch, prosthetic pulmonary valve and conduit.

2. Fail to understand the importance of this until Elementary School, when the mile run becomes mandatory for everyone except you. Glare at kids who call you “lucky”, but enjoy standing at the finish line with a stopwatch.

3. Be told by your cardiologist, every year from 9-17, that you will need surgery to replace the valve/conduit “probably next year.”

By CaptainCardio on 4/11/2013 2:19 PM
In December 1989 doctors gave my parents the news that they could lose their child due to a medical ailment. Immediately after my birth I had cyanosis around my lips and fingernails. Physicians ran more tests and diagnosed me with tetralogy of Fallot. A cardiologist wanted to operate right away but my parents refused and went for a second opinion.
By CaptainCardio on 4/10/2013 9:38 AM
Hello! My name is Angela. I am 42 and was born with Congenitally Corrected Transposition of the Great Vessel as well as a septal defect. I had my first heart surgery at the age of 12. Back then they had no clue about this heart problem. The corrected area, from my understanding, was filling up with skin and they cut the skin out. I was in the hospital for a month.


By CaptainCardio on 3/22/2013 1:29 PM

We all have once-in-a-lifetime experiences—right? Our birth and death for starters. But even though they’re once-in-a-lifetime to ourselves, these are common to everybody.

What makes me so special? Not much—other than having the dubious distinction of surviving not just one open heart surgery, but four.

My name is Bob and I'm not fat, I never smoked and I always got plenty of exercise—yet, in a span of three decades I underwent four separate open heart surgeries. Unprecedented? They were to me.

By CaptainCardio on 3/21/2013 4:40 PM
I am a 37 year old healthy female who was recently diagnosed with ASD. Very scary considering my father just passed 6 months ago after getting his mitral valve replaced. My cardiologist just referred me to a surgeon and I'm waiting for treatment options. Since I'm new to all of this, I'm nervous and in the process of gathering information.
By CaptainCardio on 3/11/2013 3:51 PM
Unlike so many with a CHD, I lived a healthy active childhood. I was always outside climbing trees and running around, took dance lessons for 14 years, and began training to swim competitively in high school. At the age of 16 I was undergoing a routine physical to obtain clearance to swim with the high school team. My new physician listened to my heart for an unusually long time and then asked, "Has anyone ever told you that you have a heart murmur?"
By CaptainCardio on 3/1/2013 2:17 PM
I am a 48 year old female born with tetralogy of Fallot. The doctors told my parents my life expectancy was 12 years old. My parents would not take that as fact so they were able to connect with a local agency for my cardiac care. I had "experimental" surgery performed at Shands Hospital in Florida in 1969 resulting in placement of a Waterston shunt. The surgery was a success and I have had a "normal" life of a child with a heart condition
By CaptainCardio on 2/25/2013 2:09 PM
I am 33 years old and had my first open-heart surgery at 4 days old, to widen my aorta. I had another OHS at age 8 to patch a small hole. My third OHS came at 14 when I had my mitral valve replaced. In 2009, OHS number four to replace my aortic valve (both valves were mechanical) and I also had a portion of my aorta replaced.
By CaptainCardio on 2/25/2013 2:06 PM
I was born with Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR). I was rushed to Children's Memorial Hospital hours after birth. I've had 5 open heart surgeries total – first when I was 10 hours old, then when I was 6 months old, 8 years old, 13 years old and 17 years old. Children's in Chicago was like my 2nd home and now sadly I'm too old, so I go to Northwestern.
By CaptainCardio on 2/12/2013 9:56 AM
I was born with coarctation of the aorta and patent ductus (PDA) in 1959. I only know the beginning story from my mom, who is a very persistent nurse. She says that she always knew there was something wrong with me but doctors would not listen until I was very sick. Luckily they finally found someone who did help them and then I had surgery.
By CaptainCardio on 2/7/2013 4:08 PM
Hi my name is Kimberly and I was born in August 1980 in Hollywood Florida. I was born with Transposition of the Great Arteries. At the age of 4 months I had to get a cardiac cath done and during the test I ended up having a stroke. It led me to have learning disabilities.


By CaptainCardio on 2/6/2013 4:15 PM
I was born in 1971 with Pulmonary Atresia, a small ASD, and a small right ventricle. I had my first open heart surgery the day after I was born. During that surgery they made a hole between the right ventricle and the pulmonary arteries. My second surgery was just before I turned 4. They enlarged the original hole and put a stitch in my ASD to close that up.
By CaptainCardio on 2/6/2013 2:03 PM
My son, Jax and his twin were born in August. While Jax’s brother is medically perfect, Jax was diagnosed with a genetic disorder called Cat-Eye Syndrome or trisomy 22, and tetralogy of Fallot in my pregnancy. When the boys were born, Jax was transferred to the NICU at Children's National Medical Center.
By CaptainCardio on 1/29/2013 8:58 AM
I was born as blue as the clouds in November of 1984. I was born with tricuspid atresia. I had two shunts before I was 6 months. I got a Fontan at the Mayo clinic when I was 4. As a result of that surgery my SA node was damaged so a pacemaker was put in when I was 5.
By CaptainCardio on 1/28/2013 11:55 AM
I am a 35 year old single adult woman with CHD. On my second day of life a nurse heard a murmur and my story began. By 3 weeks old I was in congestive heart failure. I can't even imagine what that was like for my parents. I have Shone's syndrome plus other anomalies. I have a coarctation of the aorta, subvalvar aortic stenosis, parachute mitral valve, left superior vena cava, and all types of arrhythmias.
By CaptainCardio on 1/24/2013 9:01 AM
My name is Karla; I am 28 years old and was born with Tetralogy of Fallot. I was a “blue baby,” and had my first open heart surgery at 9 months old. I was blessed with two boys, who are now 5 and 2, before needing my second open heart surgery in June 2012 for a pulmonary valve replacement.
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