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Heart Program

Patient Success Stories

Read the amazing success stories of past patients of Nicklaus Children's Hospital.

Baby J's Journey

Only a short week after been born, Baby J began to show signs of distress. A visit to the pediatric cardiologist revealed his heart was very sick. He was transferred to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital to await surgery for a crucial coarctation of the aorta. Read this story.

July patient of the month: Teegan

Once the cardiac team met with Teegan and her family, the doctors realized that this was a case unlike any they had seen before. From before birth she had been diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and then they realized that she had a little less than half a heart and only one lung. Teegan's doctors and her parents knew she had a long road to recovery, but they were prepared to do whatever it takes to get her there. Read this story.

How 3D printers saved a four year old girl's life

Every human heart is different, and 3D printing is a changing the world of surgery by providing surgeons exact replicates. Read this story.

Andrew's Success Story

Andrew Lorenzen had always been a healthy, happy child, who enjoyed playing all types of sports. So, when his mom brought him to Nicklaus Children's to get a free EKG screening, neither of them believed the results would actually come back showing something was wrong with Andrew. Read this story.

Nicolas' Success Story

Nicolas was born in Peru with an aortic coarctation and had an emergency surgery when he was 3 weeks old. A local pediatrician monitored him closely and was in constant contact with Nicklaus Children's Hospital, whom he had recommended for most of his complicated heart patients. Nicolas underwent a valve procedure at Nicklaus Children's Hospital and received excellent care in the ICU. Read this story.

Caden's Success Story

Caden was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome – which essentially means he was born with half a heart. His parents did their research and decided to trust his care to the Nicklaus Children's Heart Program. Caden had his first open-heart surgery with Dr. Redmond Burke when he was a few days old. Over the span of three years Caden underwent three open-heart surgeries and two cardiac catheterizations. Read this story.

Nathan's Success Story

Nathan’s mom went in for what was supposed to be a normal ultrasound and instead discovered that her son’s heart had serious complications. It has taken over 20 cardiac surgeries to get Nathan to where he is now; a healthy, happy 8-year-old in third grade. Underneath the twinkling eyes and wide grin, though, he is nothing less than a miracle child. Read this story.

Anthony & Christopher's Success Story

My brother Anthony and I are twins with heart problems. We are very glad that Dr. Richard Zakheim was our doctor for a long time. We wanted to thank him and the staff at his office for the care we received. Read this story.

Ava's Success Story

Ava was a healthy, energetic 2 year old until one evening, she complained of belly pain when she laid down. The next day, her mom noticed Ava was lethargic, very thirsty for water and refused to drink milk, so she took her to the pediatrician and was referred to the Nicklaus Children's Hospital Cancer Center. Read this story.

Gianna's Success Story

At just 4 years old, Gianna has had 3 open-heart surgeries at Miami Children's Hospital. Her parents were comforted by the incredible staff of doctors and nurses at MCH and thanks to them, Gianna will be able to live a full life. Read this story.

Thomas's Success Story

On August 28 2011 Thomas experienced Supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). He was hospitalized at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, and was put on medication. A few weeks later he had a heart cath with an ablation. Read this story.

Brisa's Success Story

Little Brisa Gutierrez-Guerrero started life with a severely broken heart, and her frailty seemed destined to break her mother’s heart as well. Brisa had only one lung and so many heart defects that physicians in the north Florida community where she was born in October 2011 encouraged her mother to prepare to say farewell to the tiny newborn. Read this story.

Brenna's VSD Success Story

Brenna was diagnosed with a moderate sized VSD before she was born. At six months old she was finally big enough to undergo the VSD repair. She is now doing fantastic and is a very happy and active one and a half year old. Read this story.

Rosa's Success Story

I had heart surgery at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, in 1996 to repair an atrial septum defect. Dr. Richard Zakeihm was my cardiologist. Read this story.

Janiery's Success Story

Janiery was born May 16th, 2003 with a double outlet right ventricle with sub-pulmonary stenosis and transposition of the great vessel. Thanks to the cardiac team of doctors and the man with the hands of miracles, Dr. Hannan, today she is seven and has had all of her surgeries. Read this story.

Martina's Success Story

Martina has down syndrome and a cardiac condition. Her picture with seventeen teddy bears she received at Nicklaus Children's Hospital after a successful open heart surgery done in 1998 was part of the fifty years anniversary campaign of Nicklaus Children's Hospital. Read this story.

Natalie's Miracle Story

At just four days old, Natalie came down with a bad case of jaundice and dehydration. She was scheduled to see Dr. Ana Paredes for hydronephosis of her left kidney. Tests showed that she was born with congenital heart defects, more specifically Shone's complex. Within the hour, Natalie was transferred to cardiac intensive care, where she waited to undergo open heart surgery. Read this story.

Melissa's Success Story

Melissa was born on July 16, 1992 and was diagnosed with a Double Outlet Right Ventricle. She was taken to Nicklaus Children's Hospital for all her tests, which included x-rays, echo's, ekg's, heart catheterizations, and blood work. Also, many times she was taken to the emergency room for care. Each time she had a catheterization done she was admitted to the short stay unit. Read this story.

Alexander's Success Story

In January 13, 2005 Alexander was born with a congenital heart problem that would require open heart surgery as soon as possible. He was transferred to Nicklaus Children's Hospital's, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, emergency cardiology department. Read this story.

Jake's Success Story

Jake was born at Hollywood Memorial West. About five hours after his birth they discovered he had some heart problems. By the next day he was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a rare congenital heart defect in which the left side of the heart is severely underdeveloped. That same day he was taken by helicopter to the best hospital in the world—Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital. Read this story.

Victoria Rose Success Story

Victoria Rose was born with asymmetric crying facies in conjunction with a congenital heart disease (a small atrial septal defect) and developmental delay in speech, feeding and some physical setbacks along with sensory disorder. It has been a very long road for Vicky and her family as they have seen her change for the better throughout the past year upon receiving speech and physical therapy from Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital. Read this story.

Jonas' Success Story

Jonas was born with a condition called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a rare congenital heart defect in which the left side of the heart is severely underdeveloped. He was diagnosed a little more than twenty four hours after birth. He was then  airlifted to Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, where he had the first of three surgeries to repair his heart. Read this story.

Brittany's Success Story

Brittany was born 22 years ago with a life-threatening heart defect called a double outlet right ventricle. She was admitted to Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, at birth because she needed immediate surgery to save her life. Because of her complex problem, she needed three other heart operations over the next seven years. Read this story.

Cristina's Success Story

Cristina was admitted in 1974 for heart complications. Now an adult, she had to admit her own daughter for jaundice. She feels there is no better hospital for her and her family. Read this story.

Lomaun's Success Story

Lomaun, was born on February 17th, 1993. He was not due for another six weeks. He was going into fetal distress with every contraction and was delivered via Cesarean Section. He had many complications and washe was very sick. An ambulance came and took him to Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital. A portion of the problems were: A hole in his heart, an enlarged liver, and only one kidney due to the other being atrophied. He was 8 pounds and 3 ounces at birth, despite being so very early. He "coded" twice, and both times the medical staff brought him back from certain death. Read this story.

Kai's Success Story

Kai, who was 15 weeks old, started having fits. He was taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, where they discovered a rare and dangerous heart defect. The doctors said Kai needed to be airlifted to Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, as soon as possible as they didn’t know how long he had left to live before his heart stopped working. Read this story.

Leila's Heart Surgery Success Story

Leila was born with three serious heart defects. At three months old, Dr. Redmond Burke performed open-heart surgery to correct her condition.Leila is now 15 months old and extremely healthy thanks to her wonderful doctors. Read this story.

Navaeh's Success Story

Nevaeh began her life with heart defect. She was just three months old when we began seeing Dr. Nancy C. Dobrolet (cardiologist) and Joann Nieves (nurse-practitioner). On Jan. 6, 2009, Dr. Burke performed open-heart surgery that she needed. Nevaeh is now doing great. Read this story.

Anthony's Success Story

Little Anthony was only days old when doctors in Sigonella, Italy, made a discovery that would send his family on an international trek in search of hope and healing. Born in Sicily, where his father was stationed with the U.S. Navy, Anthony’s tiny heart was so riddled with defects that Navy physicians advised the family to seek care. With the support of the U.S. Navy, the family’s search led them to The Congenital Heart Institute at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital – one of the leading heart programs in the nation known for its innovative techniques. Read this story.

Nathan's Heart Defect Success Story

Ethan Bortnick tells the story of how Dr. Redmon Burke and the team at Nicklaus Children's Hospital helped bring back his baby brother, Nathan, back to life. Nathan was born with a hypoplastic left heart syndrome, the most devastating heart defect a baby can have. Read this story.

Daniel's Success Story

Daniel was working hard to fulfill his dream of winning a sports scholarship to a prominent university, when suddenly those plans seemed to unravel. In November of 2005, the Ransom Everglades Preparatory School senior suddenly collapsed on the gym floor during basketball practice. The cause: a previously undiagnosed heart condition in which his coronary artery was not properly connected to his heart.Today, Daniel’s dreams are back on track, thanks to the Congenital Heart Institute at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital, and Arnold PalmerHospital for Children. Read this story.

David's Miracle Story

David had a hole in his heart and that the artery that feeds blood to the lungs was partially blocked. The medical term for this is Tetralogy of Fallot. David started this adventure at 15 pounds. David was discharged on Monday, April 22nd, 1996, six days after his operation. Read this story.

Jordan's Success Story

Jordan was born with Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), which means he had a hole his heart that caused more blood to pump to his left lung than to his right. During the first three months of his life, his breathing was very labored, he barely ate and was taking several medications. When he was three months old and only 10 pounds he underwent open-heart surgery to repair his heart. The result was unbelievable. After surgery, he no longer needed breathing support. His surgeon, Dr. Robert Hannan, sent him home four days later. Read this story.

Ashley's Thank you Letter

A letter from Ashley, a patient of Dr. Burke and Dr. Zoen. Read this story.

Parker's Success Story

Parker is not yet 2 years old, but he's already living up to his name. Within a month of his birth, doctors discovered the infant had multiple heart valve defects. The complications were so severe that at one point doctors considered him a candidate for a heart transplant. But thanks to Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital's internationally recognized Cardiovascular Surgery team - and a life-saving procedure never before performed on so young a child - Parker's heart is going strong. Read this story.

Myranda's Success Story

The Parents of Myranda (8 months old) Open Heart Surgery Patient October 2, 1995 at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, formerly Miami Children's Hospital Dr. Redmond Burke, Chief, Cardiovascular Surgery. Read this story.

Analiah's Success Story

Baby Analiah Duarte Escorcia was born in February, Heart Month. Thanks to groundbreaking cardiovascular surgery performed at Nicklaus Children's Hospital, soon after her birth in 2012, she is now the poster child for a novel new procedure that seems poised to become the “holy grail” for children with heart valve defects. Little Analiah came into the world with one of the most devastating of heart defects, called Ebstein's Anomaly. Read this story.

Jillian's letter

Dear Dr. Burke
thank you for closing
the hole in my heart.
Your friend,
Jillian Read this story.

Ricki's letter

Hi Dr. Burke! I really, really want to see you but you are too busy.
All I wanted to say is that I love you and I really miss you. Read this story.

Xavier & Zachary's letter

To D. Burke, Dr. Zahn and Staff
Guess who just turned 4 years old? We did! Read this story.

Do you have a patient success story? If so please submit your story on our success story submission page.


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