Congenital Heart Disease Patient Stories

Adult discovers congenital heart condition in 30s

Divina McCleaf was born and raised in the Philippines and moved to the U.S. when she was in her 20s. It was during her late 20s that she needed to be hospitalized for difficulty breathing. Doctors at a local hospital diagnosed her with a heart condition and sent her to the University of Maryland Medical Center to be seen by adult congenital heart experts Dr. Sunjay Kaushal and Dr. Stacy Fisher

Young gymnast competes again after heart surgery

15-year-old Jordyn Ray had several sicknesses as a baby, but her family never thought any of that had to do with her heart. One day at school, Jordyn, a gymnast, felt like her heart was pounding out of her chest. After meeting with a pediatric cardiologist at the University of Maryland Medical Center, it was discovered that open heart surgery was needed.

The surgery corrected Jordyn's heart problems and allowed her to return to competition.


Emergency Lung Surgery for Pulmonary Emboli Reveals Heart Defect

Kim Broll of Cumberland, Maryland lived 58 years without knowing she had a hole in her heart and that one day it would save her life. In fact, it was not until she woke up from emergency surgery to treat massive clots in the blood vessels supplying her lungs that her cardiothoracic surgeon informed Kim that he had also repaired a heart condition known as patent foramen ovale (PFO). PFO arises when a hole in the upper portion of a fetus’ heart does not close after birth.

Click here to read more about her story.


The Race to Save Grace

Meet Grace Rice, who was diagnosed with a form of heart failure before she was two years old. The University of Maryland Children's Heart Program's team worked together to diagnose the problem and save Grace's life.

Click hereto read more about Grace's story.


Family Travels from Chicago for son's heart surgery

The Palka family needed the best surgical care for their 2-year-old son, Noah. Noah, a twin, was born with coarctation of the aorta. Dr. Sunjay Kaushal operated on Noah as a baby when he was a surgeon in Chicago. When it was time for Noah's next surgery, the Palka family only wanted Dr. Kaushal, so Paul and Noah traveled from Chicago to the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.