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Patients reveal what it's like to live with CHD - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Patients reveal what it's like to live with CHD

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SHREVEPORT, La. -

 

Feb. 7-14 marks Congenital Heart Defects Week.
 
National statistics show that one out of 100 babies are born with CHD.
 
This makes it the most common birth defect in the U.S. Yet there is still much to be discovered about CHD.
 
"I couldn't play any sports, so I got to be manager of the football team," said CHD patient Douglas Terry of Bossier City.
 
"I had surgery in 1991 at LSUHSC. It was pretty rough. I didn't know a world outside of hospitals growing up," said CHD patient April Lynn Turner of Haughton. 

These are the faces and the personal experiences that come along with congenital heart disease. 

Survivors talk about endless doctors visits while dealing with no energy. 

"I couldn't play any sports, so I got to be manager of the football team," said Terry.
 
"I did marching band and ROTC at Haughton High School. I still did everything that any normal person my age did, although I got tired extremely easily," said Turner.
 
Dr. Jonathan Davis with CHRISTUS Health said little is known about the cause of CHD. National health agencies are still researching ways to prevent it.

Some studies show CHD can be linked to genetics and controllable factors like the mother's diet, smoking habits, and medication use. 

"Technology has allowed many of these kids to live to be adults, so now we're in adulthood seeing many of these kids as they transition. Previously they didn't live to adulthood and now they are," said Dr. Davis.

In the meantime, patients like Turner are trying to get the word out for more research into the birth defect.

"CHD is out there and there needs to be something done about it," said Turner.

No hospitals in Shreveport perform pediatric open heart surgery. 

To get procedures like this done, families travel to Baton Rouge, Little Rock or Dallas.

 

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