Specialists help South Florida girl with complicated heart condition

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – When Jamara Brooks became pregnant with twins in late 2009, everything seemed fine, at first.

“I had a perfectly fine pregnancy, a healthy pregnancy,” she said.

Then Brooks had a seizure sending her into early labor in July of 2010.

One twin was born healthy, but the other, now-9-year-old Jahmya, was born with a complex congenital heart condition that has affected her health in multiple ways.

“She’s had multiple surgeries but right now the main concern is that her pulmonary valve, the valve that connects the right side of your heart to your lungs, is not working properly,” said Dr. Danyal Khan, a pediatric cardiologist with Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.

The standard approach for replacing the pulmonary valve is through open heart surgery, but that was too risky for Jahmya.

Instead, Khan and his team performed the procedure through catheterization.

“In which we will basically put an IV in the leg vein, put tiny plastic tubes inside the heart under extra guidance and replace the pulmonary valve,” he said.

Over the next 6 to 12 months, Jahmya’s energy should improve as her heart becomes stronger.

“To come up with something they felt was non-invasive and where they didn’t have to open up her chest to fix what was going on it means a lot,” Brooks said.

The replacement valve will grow with Jahmya as she grows but she will need on-going cardiac care for the rest of her life.

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