Cedar Rapids toddler waits for healthy heart diagnosis - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids toddler waits for healthy heart diagnosis on Valentine's Day


CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL)-- February is known for a certain heart-shaped holiday centered around the color red.   The sweetness of Valentine's day goes beyond flowers, chocolates and cards for a Cedar Rapids family.  Their three-year-old daughter will undergo her third and possibly final heart test Tuesday morning. 

Doctors diagnosed Ellie Schmidt with a severe heart condition after detecting problems during an early ultra-sound.

The left side of her heart wasn't developing properly.

But on this Valentines day, she's just hours away from knowing if a final procedure could repair her heart forever.

Ellie is only three, but she loves celebrating Valentine's Day.

Ellie's mom, Heidi Schmidt says, "Did you have a party with your friends?"

The friends Ellie celebrated with shared more than just cards and cookies, they all have congenital heart defects.

Heidi says,"She was born with severe aortic stenosis resulting in hypoplastic left heart syndrome.  She's had two open heart surgery so far."

Doctors at the University of Iowa performed the first round of surgeries when Ellie was a newborn.   Now that she's grown to 35 pounds, she's ready for her third, and possibly final operation.

Heidi says, "We're getting ready for third, but we may end up with a transplant.  Doctors are trying to determine what would be best for her."

Ellie will be in the hands of the same medical staff that's been by her side since she was born, and that gives Heidi a sense of comfort.

"We love the doctors at the U of I.  They are the best. We're so happy we live so close by. Someone that was born thirty years ago with her defect, there was no chance of survival.  Advances have come a long way."

This thriving three year old knows she's headed to the doctor soon, but knows a thing or two about surviving and smiling.

Heidi says, "Show her your pretty teeth! Smile!"

Her family is hopeful she'll have a healthy heart by next Valentine's Day.

Heidi says, "You have to stay positive.  We're so thankful for all the advances.  It's not easy all the time, but you wouldn't change it for anything."

Follow Ellie's Progress:

  • Ellie's Care Page: http://www.carepages.com/carepages/EllieJoSchmidt
  • American Heart Association resources on congenital heart defects: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/CongenitalHeartDefects/Congenital-Heart-Defects_UCM_001090_SubHomePage.jsp
  • Risks and stats: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/CongenitalHeartDefects/UnderstandYourRiskforCongenitalHeartDefects/Understand-Your-Risk-for-Congenital-Heart-Defects_UCM_001219_Article.jsp
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