At just ten months old, Maisie Joy Slader has spent two-thirds of her life on a beta blocker.
Maisie was born with a critical congenital heart defect known as Pulmonary Atresia with an intact ventricular septum and Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome. This meant that the valve leading from her heart to the lungs was completely closed along with the underdevelopment of the right sided structures of the heart.
In her case, this rare heart defect meant she wasn’t getting oxygenated blood.
“We didn’t understand about heart defects when Maisie was born,” said Sandy Slader. She and her husband, Arthur Slader spent anxious weeks at Boston Children’s Hospital, as Maisie underwent surgery to open her blocked valve and to get a better look at the anatomy of her heart. That surgery let Maisie get oxygenated blood.
Sandy had given birth to Maisie last October during an emergency C-section at Landmark Hospital. After the delivery, doctors spotted something wrong. Maisie and Arthur went to Hasbro Children’s Hospital. After more testing, Maisie was taken to Boston Children’s Hospital.
“She’s doing great now!” Arthur Slader said. Maisie is no longer on a beta blocker, that was used to manage her abnormal heart rhythm.
In addition to Maisie, Sandy and Arthur are the parents of Kaleigh-James, 8, and Vivian who is 5. They lost their newborn daughter, Margaret, two years ago to Turner’s Syndrome.
Because of the loss of Margaret, Sandy had extensive testing done when she was pregnant with Maisie. That testing included anatomy scans, thorough blood work and even a Level Two ultrasound. “But that Level Two ultrasound never showed any issues,” said Sandy.
According to the Sladers, at some point Maisie will need a new valve for her heart, because hers is not properly formed and leaks. “It’s a matter of time to see how her heart and her right ventricle grows, when her valve fails to perform she’ll need a replacement,” said Arthur.
Sandy and Arthur Slader are strong advocates for research. “We are extremely grateful that our daughter is doing so well, but many other children and families are not so fortunate,” said Sandy. “By talking about it, encouraging pregnant women to get screened and donating to further Congenital Heart Defect research we really can make a difference.”
Maisie Joy Slader and her family are going to take part in the 9th Annual Little Heart Hero Day on Saturday, September 8th at Goddard Park in Warwick. It runs from 11 am – 1 pm rain or shine. For more information on the event, please contact Jasmine.Grenier@heart.org or call 401-228-2328.
“If I didn’t tell you she had a heart problem, you probably wouldn’t know,” Arthur said. “Spreading knowledge has become a part of our daily journey in hopes that we might inspire others to support the American Heart Association, to find out more about the medical advances that are saving so many lives, or even to become a part of the research themselves.”