• By Dana Sparks

Sharing Mayo Clinic: Going all out to ease young patient’s fears

May 6, 2018

After 5-year-old Lauren Hoel underwent her third open-heart surgery in five years, she was, understandably, a little frightened of her postoperative care and recovery. Her care team at Mayo Clinic knew just what to do.

Despite some fluctuating oxygen levels at birth, Lauren Hoel went home from Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, Wisconsin,shortly after her birth in November 2011. But four days later, when her parents brought her in for a routine well-baby visit, they requested Lauren's oxygen levels be retested.

"As first-time parents, we had no idea what normal babies do," Lauren's mom, Anne Hoel, says. "But because Lauren had low oxygen levels in the hospital and liked to sleep a lot, we asked them to check her level again."

Lauren was born with a heart murmur that hadn't yet resolved on its own. That's not uncommon in newborns, but her care team was unable to get a consistently good oxygen level reading despite several attempts with different machines. That's when Lauren's Mayo Clinic Health System pediatrician, Karen Myhre, M.D., ordered an echocardiogram to rule out a major medical issue.

The images were sent to Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus where they were read by Allison Cabalka, M.D., a pediatric cardiologist. The results revealed a number of significant heart problems.

"She was diagnosed with transposition of the great arteries, an atrial septal defect, a ventricular septal defect and an interrupted aortic arch," Anne says. "It was scary." Read the rest of Lauren's story.
This article originally appeared on the Sharing Mayo Clinic blog.