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State Mulls Mandatory CHD Checks for Newborns

Posted at: 02/13/2013 7:07 PM
Updated at: 02/14/2013 3:21 PM
By: Katie Eldred

(ABC 6 NEWS) - A Minnesota house bill passed through committee Wednesday afternoon that would require every newborn in Minnesota to be screened for critical Congenital Heart Disease.

Each year about one out of a hundred babies are diagnosed with the disease.

One local family who knows all too well the struggles of coping with CHD.

Bobby Carroll is almost four years old, but he already loves to shoot hoops and play with his big sister. He's also very curious so he loves checking out new things like our camera.

But Bobby has another very noticeable trait.

"He's very resilient, I mean he just bounces back," said Bobby’s mom Kayla Carroll.

At just three Bobby has gone through more surgeries than many of us will go through in a lifetime.

"His first surgery was at 4 days old," said Kayla Carroll.

Just after he was born he was diagnosed with a Congenital Heart Defect.

"We just had so much going on, we didn't really have time to think about," said Bobby’s dad Bob Carroll.

Mayo Cardiologist Benjamin Eidem, Bobby's doctor, says part of Bobby's heart never fully developed.

"Bobby has one of the more significant forms of CHD. He was born with a large hole in his heart, but also didn't have a connection from the right side to his lungs," said Dr. Eidem.

He says most people don't realize that nearly 40,000 babies are born with CHD each year.

"It's one of the more common defects we deal with," said Dr. Eidem.

"Everyone expects to have a healthy baby, you just don't know how common birth defects are," said Kayla Carroll.

The Carroll’s hope more awareness and research will make way for better technology. Making the surgeries easier for Bobby as he gets older.

"The conduit doesn't grow with him so it will have to be switched with every growth spurt," said Kayla Carroll.

Dr. Eidem says awareness and research has already made a difference.

"I think one of the most exciting things is how we deal with children, babies, and even fetuses, now that we have more technology treating CHD is so much different in 2013 than it was even five, ten years ago."

Allowing Bobby to continue to be the curious and resilient little guy that he is.

February 7th through the 14th is CHD awareness week.

The Carroll's have found support in the local chapter of Mended Little Hearts, a CHD awareness group. We've posted a link to their website, as well as a link to Bobby's Caring Bridge site under links.