Heart Center Team Works Together to Help Infant

Alex Treated by Heart Center
After her 20 week ultrasound, Kelly Beaubein received difficult news: her baby had a rare congenital heart defect. Her obstetrician referred her to Nina Gotteiner, MD, in the Fetal/Neonatal Cardiology Program of the Heart Center at Lurie Children’s to find out more.

Dr. Gotteiner diagnosed the baby with transposition of the great arteries (TGA), where the aorta and pulmonary artery are reversed and connected to the incorrect ventricles of the heart, with a suspicion of coarctation.  To support her diagnosis, Dr. Gotteiner conferred with another leading cardiologist. When this doctor corroborated the TGA diagnosis, the Beaubein family chose Dr. Gotteiner as a specialist for their child.

Kelly and her husband saw Dr. Gotteiner for fetal echocardiograms and prenatal consulting as she finished her pregnancy and prepared to give birth. Dr. Gotteiner helped prepare the family for next steps, advising that the infant may need a balloon immediately after birth, depending on how he reacted after delivery. Prior to delivery, the family also visited the Priority Second Opinion Program, where they met all of the specialists that would be involved in the care of their infant.

On Nov. 27, 2012, Alex Beaubein was born at Prentice Women’s Hospital. A team from Lurie Children’s was poised to take immediate action and David Wax, MD, was on hand to immediately provide a balloon for baby Alex. During recovery, because Prentice and Lurie Children’s are connected by a sky bridge, Kelly was just a hallway away from Alex. She was able to regularly visit him and call over to speak to his care team. Kelly said, “It was one team working together, not two separate teams from two hospitals.”
Six days later, Alex needed surgery to repair the TGA and cardiovascular-thoracic surgeons, Carl Backer, MD, and Hyde M. Russell, MD, performed the successful surgery. While Kelly was recovering from delivery at Prentice Women’s Hospital, a member of Alex’s team, Page Steadman, APN, provided frequent updates to Kelly during the surgery at Lurie Children’s next door. During the critical 24-hour period after surgery, everything went well for Alex.

Additional testing confirmed that Alex had coarctation and a second surgery was quickly scheduled. Dr. Backer again performed surgery and corrected the defect without open heart surgery. Alex quickly recuperated in his private room in the NICU and passed his milestones. On Dec. 23, little Alex was home for good.

These days, Alex is a happy and healthy baby boy. He recently celebrated his first birthday with his family. Since their experience at Lurie Children’s, Kelly has connected with two other families that are dealing with a TGA diagnosis. They provide support to each other and have become friends. Because of her positive experience, Kelly hopes to be an advocate for children with heart defects in the future.