UW Health Pediatric Cardiologists advance field while heart-felt - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UW Health Pediatric Cardiologists advance field while heart-felt Make-A-Wish comes to fruition

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Next week (7th-14th) marks Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week.  American Family Children's Hospital is doing some amazing things to not just save these children, but give them a quality of life never dreamed before.

Four-year-old Amelia Miller was born with her left heart severely underdeveloped.  With Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, she's had five surgeries in her short life, but they have been life-saving at that.  This February, she will embark on a special Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World.  Our 27 News cameras tagged along as she got 'the all clear' from Dr. Sharda Srinivasan.

"They [kids like Amelia] have such a long time in the hospital initially and this is just such a great time to allow them to heal as a family to go out and do just normal things," Dr. Srinivasan said after conducting her physical.  

"We see them go through war, the first year of their lives ...is an absolute battle,"  Pediatric Cardiology Chair Dr. Carter Ralphe said.  

Each year, UW Health Pediatric Cardiologists operate on roughly 150 little ones.  Their specialized care teams allow them to operate just days after birth instead of waiting years.

"Back in the 40's and 50's, this was virtually a death sentence for many of these children," he said.  Luckily amazing medical breakthroughs in the last thirty years and even more incredible technological advancements now are helping these kids grow up.

"The issue now is that while we are able to provide primary treatment for these children as infants with very good survival rates the key now is how do we help grow up to be thriving children young adults and adults," he said.

UW Health pediatric cardiologists are on the cutting edge of 3-D printing and state of the art imaging they do right in the hospital.

As for the special MRI imaging, it's something Dr. Ralphe is proud of.

"That's something that has been developed here in Madison, now being disseminated across the country -- so it's a very  novel way of looking at the heart and its function," he said.

Amelia's mother, Kelly, is hopeful when her daughter has her sixth and final surgery, doctors will use the imaging and a 3-D prototype to better fix her daughter's heart problems.

"They've been in there so many times they probably need a good model to understand," she said.

For now, Amelia's got the approval she needs for the trip and seeing Mickey and Princess Aurora are all she cares about.  You can learn more about how this month's Jefferson Award winner helped her get the wish granted, here.

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