NonCardiac Health Issues for Survivors with Complex Congenital Heart Defects
January 28, 2014
Hosted by Anna Jaworski
There are over one million adults alive with a congenital heart defect or CHD. Many surgeries performed on survivors are corrective but not curative. The non-cardiac health issues that seem to appear fairly regularly include, but are not limited to: problems with teeth, (i.e. an abscess, needing wisdom teeth removed or needing braces); scoliosis; problems with legs or feet requiring braces or surgery, pregnancy or female problems, male babies with undescended testicles or concern about circumcision, eye problems, protein-losing enteropathy, other intestinal problems, plastic bronchitis, asthma, strokes, seizures, migraines and allergies. These non-cardiac conditions are more worrisome for heart parents and CHD survivors since everything is more complicated when considering a body which has had open-heart surgery. Special considerations must be made for drugs taken and surgical complications endured. What kinds of non-cardiac health issues are common in the heart community and why?
Heart to Heart with Anna
Archives Available on VoiceAmerica Health and Wellness Channel
Heart to Heart with Anna is a program specifically for the congenital heart defect or CHD community. Our show will address issues of concern to the CHD community. Topics revolve around some of the special needs of the child born with a CHD, how to become an advocate for the CHD child, parent and CHD survivor and what it means to be part of the CHD community. The show addresses issues of concern to the CHD community. Members of the CHD community will serve as Guests to share stories to encourage others. While the topics will be especially pertinent to the CHD community, they also have a broader appeal to any community dealing with chronic illness since many of our topics are faced by other communities dealing with chronic illnesses.
Anna Jaworski is the mother of a son with a severe congenital heart defect (CHD). Alex endured two open-heart surgeries in his first year of life. His surgeon told parents Anna and Frank that Alex was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome a.k.a. HLHS. Alex underwent a revision of his last surgery at age 17 and had a Maze Procedure to stave off future arrhythmias.
With a lack of information for parents, Anna decided to write a book about HLHS and start a publishing company for the CHD community. She also helped start a support group for CHD parents in Central Texas and became a public speaker. Joey, Anna’s heart-healthy son, inspired her to write a second book, My Brother Needs an Operation. After a while, Anna started sharing stories with other CHD parents to educate and inspire them. Encouraged by these parents, Anna then became the editor of two books, The Heart of a Mother and The Heart of a Father. The books provide hope, encouragement, and support to the CHD community.
Anna has been a public speaker for many CHD events. She is a Distinguished Toastmaster, earning the highest level of communication and leadership awards Toastmasters offers. Anna has given speeches all over North America.
With a B.A. in speech pathology and MEd in curriculum and instruction, Anna helped Alex after he suffered a stroke and vocal cord paralysis following his second surgery. She also homeschooled her two sons. Anna still loves to teach and share stories with others.