Yuray Rodriguez, 19, is a typical college student, balancing classes and spending quality time with his sisters in the kitchen. One would never know he was born with a serious heart defect, if it wasn’t for a scar that runs down his chest.
Yuray was only 15 days old when he underwent heart surgery at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital to repair a condition known as Coaction of the Aorta, a narrowing of the aorta that can lead to heart failure and high blood pressure. When Yuray was born, he was having difficulty breathing, a sign that the narrowing in his heart was significant and required surgery to repair.
Robert Hannan, a pediatric cardiovascular surgeon with the Heart Institute who operated on Yuray as an infant, says this condition can cause serious effects if left untreated.
The operation was a success and Yuray has been healthy ever since. In fact, he wanted to ensure that his care team knew just how great he was doing after all these years.
“I am living proof that being born with a heart defect is not as bad as it sounds. I realize how lucky I am, but also that anything is possible,” says Yuray.
Yuray is one of many children in South Florida and beyond living long into adulthood with a congenital heart defect and thanks to the lifesaving work of surgeons and clinicians who are dedicated to repairing these life-threatening conditions in the tiniest hearts.
Consider supporting children with congenital heart defects by donating to the Heart Institute, so they can live long healthy lives like Yuray.