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Child Heart Conditions Present Big Challenges to MN Families

In Minnesota, an average of 650 babies are born with a heart defect each year. (AHA)
In Minnesota, an average of 650 babies are born with a heart defect each year. (AHA)
February 13, 2020

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Throughout February, various groups in Minnesota are raising awareness of the importance of heart health.

This week, the focus is on children born with heart defects.

As part of American Heart Month, the American Heart Association of Minnesota is getting the word out about the challenges families face when their child is born with a heart condition.

Emily Swanson, communications director for the American Heart Association of Minnesota, says the challenges are endless.

"A lot of kids that we see have to go through a lot of surgeries when they're babies and toddlers and into childhood," she points out. "And so, a lot of those surgeries obviously take a toll on the kid and the family."

And in some cases, she says, children face restrictions on what they can do as they grow. There's also the stress of waiting for a heart transplant, if the need arises.

The association says nationally, 1 in 110 births results in a congenital heart defect. Minnesota officials say each year, roughly 650 babies are born with one.

Swanson says thanks to advancements in research, many of these children are able to live longer. But she says the complications can often stay with them.

To learn more about some of the stories of families affected by this issue, visit supportnetwork.heart.org.

Disclosure: American Heart Association of Minnesota contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Smoking Prevention. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mike Moen, Public News Service - MN