Seemingly healthy girl needs heart surgery - Albuquerque Journal

Seemingly healthy girl needs heart surgery

A routine meet-and-greet visit to a new pediatrician brought an unwelcome surprise for a Rio Rancho couple when they learned their active little daughter had a heart murmur.

The pediatrician referred 6-year-old Téa Tomada to a specialist at Presbyterian Hospital downtown, who diagnosed her with Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), basically a hole between the top two chambers of the heart.

“The really shocking thing to mom and myself was she was a healthy child, she was in indoor soccer, she played vigorously, she played against the boys. We never saw any telltale signs,” said her father, Brian Tomada, “So, to get that diagnosis from the doctors about a large hole in her heart that was quite large was very disturbing.”

Jennifer Davenport, who works on contract with MEDNAX at Presbyterian Hospital downtown, was the pediatric cardiologist who examined Téa. She said congenital heart disease occurs in about 40,000 babies born nationwide each year and ASD is the most common form of those.

The hole is between the top two chambers of the heart, the atria, and causes oxygenated blood from the left atrium to go through the hole to the right atrium and on to the lungs.

“So it causes extra blood flow to the lungs with every heartbeat,” she said.

Davenport said the defect is usually not immediately dangerous. Kids initially tolerate the hole well but may eventually have symptoms such as chronic asthma or difficulty running and playing with peers. Over a lifetime, if left untreated, Davenport said, ASD can cause problems for women when they have babies or pulmonary hypertension among people that live at high altitude.

Although smaller holes can be fixed with a minimally invasive day procedure, in Téa’s case, the hole was large enough to require open-heart surgery.

The experience was nervewracking for her parents.

“It was very traumatic,” said her mother, Yvette Tomada.

Doctors put a patch over the hole in her heart and Téa recovered quickly. Téa herself said the operation was “sort of scary” but she was soon back at Rio Rancho Elementary school and is now looking forward to playing T-ball, her favorite sport.

She will have to have twice-yearly check ups for the next few years to ensure that scar tissue from the operation doesn’t interfere with the electrical system that controls the rhythmic beating of her heart. But she is essentially able to live a normal life.

“It (the ASD) may have caused problems later but we caught it early enough,”Davenport said.

Nevertheless, the experience prompted Téa’s parents to have their younger daughters checked to see if they had the same heart defect. Their middle daughter, Sophia, 4, did not, but testing revealed a very small hole in their 2-year old daughter Gianna’s heart, which will not require any immediate intervention.

The couple say they want to raise awareness about the importance of child wellness check-ups to detect potential heart defects.

Home » From the newspaper » Seemingly healthy girl needs heart surgery


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Harry Connick Jr. bringing new holiday album to ABQ
ABQnews Seeker
Harry Connick Jr.'s tour makes a ... Harry Connick Jr.'s tour makes a stop at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7, at Kiva Auditorium.
2
Iconic musical ensemble Mannheim Steamroller making holiday tour stop ...
ABQnews Seeker
Mannheim Steamroller, which is currently on ... Mannheim Steamroller, which is currently on its Christmas tour, will make a stop on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at Popejoy Hall.
3
Taylor Garrett Spirits releases whiskey finished in Pedro Ximénez ...
ABQnews Seeker
The limited batch of Taylor Garrett ... The limited batch of Taylor Garrett Sherry Cask Finish Whiskey (PX) is available at the Vara Winery & Distillery tasting room.
4
Paloma weaves a jubilant atmosphere with vibrant Mexican food
ABQnews Seeker
The next time you are seeking ... The next time you are seeking a festive spot with a vibrant vibe and dishes, head to Paloma.
5
Everything you need to know before heading to the ...
ABQnews Seeker
Over 4,000 people are set to ... Over 4,000 people are set to participate in the 2022 iteration of the Twinkle Light Parade, which begins at 5:15 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, ...
6
Mariachi Christmas celebrating 23 years music and ballet folklórico
ABQnews Seeker
Mariachi Christmas at Popejoy Hall will ... Mariachi Christmas at Popejoy Hall will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9.
7
Actor Chaske Spencer examined the 1890s through the lens ...
ABQnews Seeker
'The English' follows aristocratic Englishwoman, Lady ... 'The English' follows aristocratic Englishwoman, Lady Cornelia Locke (Emily Blunt), and a Pawnee ex-cavalry scout, Eli Whipp (Chaske Spencer), as they come together in ...
8
30-foot sequoia replica to light up Old Town this ...
ABQnews Seeker
Old Town Shop and Stroll and ... Old Town Shop and Stroll and Tree Lighting set for Friday, Dec. 2.
9
Want to see a free comedy show? Big Benny ...
ABQnews Seeker
Local comedian hosting his own company ... Local comedian hosting his own company Christmas party, and everyone is invited