Born with a heart defect, Heather Fiore knew there was a chance that the baby she was carrying was at a higher risk for also having a congenital heart condition. When she was 23 weeks pregnant, she had a level 2 ultrasound with one of Sutter's perinatologists. It was then that the doctor suggested they have Stanley Wright, M.D., a pediatric cardiologist, review the imaging. Dr. Wright let Fiore know that her fetus showed characteristics that indicated a heart condition, but that they would have to follow-up a few weeks later when they could see more to provide a diagnosis.
Fiore went in for another ultrasound four weeks later, and Dr. Wright diagnosed her baby with truncus arteriosus and an aortic arch defect. If left untreated, the conditions could threaten the baby's health. Dr. Wright suggested that Fiore deliver her baby boy at Stanford's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, so he could have his heart surgery as soon as possible. At the time, Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento's Pediatric Heart Surgery Program wasn't able to perform open-heart surgeries on newborns.
Fiore delivered Ethan at Stanford, and at only 3 days old, he underwent his first heart surgery. The procedure was successful, and a valve was implanted into his heart. To keep up with his growing body, Ethan had two additional surgeries to replace his valve at Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento. The last one was done when Ethan was 8 years old. Pediatric heart surgeon Teimour Nasirov, M.D. was able to implant an adult-sized valve, so he won't need a replacement for at least another decade. Because of the impact pregnancy had on Fiore's body, she also underwent heart surgery at Sutter.
"We're so lucky to have our team at Sutter to care for our family," Fiore says. "Both Dr. Wright and Dr. Nasirov make us feel like we're their only patients and give us all the time we need to have our questions answered and make us feel comfortable."
Looking at Ethan today, you wouldn't know that he has endured three open-heart procedures. The energetic 9 year old enjoys skateboarding, biking and snowboarding.