Adult Congential Heart Service | Patient Stories

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Contact the Adult Congenital Heart Program

Congenital heart defects are life-changing events extending far beyond the operating room, the clinics and the hospital walls. Learn more about the every day lives touched by congenital heart defects.

Read about our adult patients and their families whose remarkable experiences give this patient population a voice and offer hope and help to others who are beginning their journey.

Adult patient Blue Baby

Gretchen's story: A blue baby and living legend

Gretchen was born with cyanotic heart disease, the combined result of a number of different cardiac defects that ultimately cause low-blood oxygen level. Gretchen’s parents were told that her chances of living very long were low. Her parents prayed she would be with them for a year. Read more.

Adult Congenital Heart Disease patient

Life with congenital heart disease: Looking back with gratitude, looking ahead with hope

Jennifer D’Ercole McKenna, 49, is part of a small but growing group of middle-age adults with congenital heart disease who had surgical repair in infancy or early childhood. Jennifer shares her lifetime of wisdom with parents and children affected by congenital heart disease. Read more.

Adult Congenital Heart Defect patient

Faces of adult congenital heart disease: Marathoner, mom, researcher

Most people with congenital heart disease (CHD) are diagnosed at birth. But Dr. Kornelia “Nelly” Polyak found out about her condition in medical school. Soon she learned she had an atrioventricular canal defect (ASVD). Read more.

Adult Congenital Heart Defect Patients

A heartfelt reunion

Childhood friends Eileen and Annie were both born with a serious congenital heart condition. While at Boston Children's Hospital, they shared a room, each waiting their turn to receive the Fontan Procedure. Read more.

congenital heart defect patient

Skylar’s story: My heart surgery scar makes me appreciate life

I can still recall being a five-year-old girl in the women’s locker room of the swim and tennis club my family attended in the summer. I notice that no one else has the same six-inch scar down the middle of their chests that I have. Until then, I thought that everyone had that scar. Read more.

Boston Children’s is so much more than a hospital—it’s a community of researchers, clinicians, administrators, support staff, innovators, teachers, patients and families, all working together to make the impossible possible. ”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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