BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Every year 400 babies are born in the Baltimore area with heart defects. Many aren’t detected right away, which can be deadly.

This week is Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week, and Andrea Fujii explains what parents should watch out for.

Julia Hansen, 5, is looking at her healthy heart one year after open heart surgery.

“There’s a lot of kids out there probably walking around with defects that their parents don’t know. We didn’t know. We were very fortunate to find out the way we did,” said Bob Hansen, Julia’s dad.

Julia was born with two heart defects and only found out when they were in the ER for an injured arm.

“She mentioned off the cuff, ‘I hear a little bit of a murmur. Mention it to your pediatrician,'” said Hansen.

Nationally, 40,000 babies are born with heart defects and out of those, about 13,000 are potentially deadly.

“It’s an abnormality of the structure of the heart, and it constitutes the most common birth defect that children are born with,” said Dr. Joel Brenner, Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Fetal EKGs miss up to 80 percent of heart defects, but once the baby is born there are symptoms to watch out for.

Parents should watch for low weight, rapid breathing and bluish lips or fingertips.

One year after Julia’s surgery she’s just like any other child.

“Usually I like to ride my bike and my scooter a lot,” said Julia Hansen.

Now, Julia does not have a care in the world, after doctors fixed a dangerous discovery.

For more information on congenital heart defects, click here.

Comments (2)
  1. Bob Hansen says:

    Thank you WJZ, Andrea, Dr. Brenner and everyone at JHMI.

    Many many thanks.

    Bob, Renee, Julia, & Josh

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