The holidays are a time for family, counting our blessings and reflection. Lisa Lindberg is thankful for the work of the American Heart Association to fund heart and stroke research and the advocacy work in North Dakota. Lisa’s testimony in support of SB 2172 - a bill to ensure that newborns are screened for congenital heart defects - was a key factor in passage of this important legislation. Lisa shared her son Austin’s story at the House committee hearing on SB 2172.
When Austin was born 20 years ago, everything seemed fine. It was not until his 24-month old well-baby check, when the nurse practitioner was listening to Austin’s heart did they know that something was wrong. After seeing his doctor and then being referred to a pediatric cardiologist for testing, Austin was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect – Aortic Stenosis. Austin appeared healthy but hidden from their eyes was a heart defect he had from birth.
Austin has had two open heart surgeries since his heart defect was detected. He has grown up to be an active young man, currently working with his dad in the family business. Lisa said they feel fortunate that despite the delay in diagnosis of Austin’s heart defect, he did not have any permanent heart or organ damage. Not every baby with an undiagnosed heart defects is that lucky.
Thanks to passage of SB 2172 as of August 1, 2013, all babies born in hospitals in North Dakota are screened for Critical Congenital Heart Defects through pulse oximetry, a simple and inexpensive screening that helps detect heart defects before a baby leaves the hospital.