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The story of our precious little girl's 17 months of life with Trisomy 18 (July 4, 2010 - December 15, 2011) and of us, re-learning to live "after Lilly."
"I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made ...." Psalm 139:14

Saturday, June 8, 2019

"Newborns with trisomy 13 or 18 can benefit from heart surgery"

I just wanted to share an exciting medical journal article, which finally acknowledges that infants born with Trisomy 18 or 13 are more likely to survive if they undergo heart surgery.  

Note that this article was published in October 2017 - but I don't remember seeing it before now.  Since people are still doing searches and frequently ending up on this blog, I wanted to put this information here.

The article is here:

Researchers at Stanford and the University of Arkansas analyzed data from the largest study of its kind and found that infants born with these two genetic disorders have a significantly better chance of survival if they have heart surgery.  (Heart defects are very common in T-13 and T-18 babies.)

For us parents of these precious children, this is a real "DUH!!!" moment. But to be getting the medical community on board?  That is HUGE!  Those of you that know my Lilly's story know that we had to go all the way to Florida to get her heart surgery because local doctors, here in N.C., would not treat her.  They believed it was "unethical" since she was just going to die anyway.

This belief was common.  From the article:  

 “The thought has been that it doesn’t make sense to undertake a major heart surgery if the patient’s death within a few months is a near certainty,” said Thomas Collins, MD, clinical associate professor of pediatric cardiology at Stanford."

Instead of death being so certain, the researchers found this:

"The researchers found that heart surgery increased survival and hospital discharge on average from 33 percent to approximately 67 percent for these patients, and that this benefit lasted through two years of follow-up. “When we analyzed the survival curves, the data spoke for themselves,” Collins said. “Especially for trisomy 18, the number of babies that survive more than doubles after surgery.”

As one of Lilly's heart doctor's said before her first heart surgery, it was her hope that Trisomy 18 (and 13) babies would one day be treated just as Down Syndrome children were.  (Note that years ago, Down Syndrome children were NOT medically treated well either.  But it finally changed for them.)

Lilly sleeping after her 2nd heart surgery (Nov. 2011)

Lilly waving - on the way home after surgery & recovery!


  1. I think of her SO often....❤

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