Ohio mom's intuition helps save baby girl with life-threatening heart condition

A little girl in Ohio who nearly a year ago was on the brink of losing her life due to a severe heart condition is approaching her first birthday, thanks in part to her mother’s intuition.

Ten days after giving birth to twins Evie and Ada Vavra, Amy Vavra noticed one of her newborns— Evie, who weighed only 4 pounds— wasn’t eating. After calling their pediatrician, Amy and her husband, Brian Vavra, learned their little girl had a low temperature of about 94.3. Evie was rushed by ambulance to the emergency room, where doctors observed that her heart was abnormal.

“The amount of doctors who rushed into the room was terrifying,” Brian Vavra told the Cleveland Clinic, where Evie was treated.

Doctors diagnosed Evie with a severe coarctation of the aorta, a heart defect marked by the narrowing of the large blood vessel leading to the heart. The condition meant Evie’s aorta had closed, which in turn restricted blood flow to her lower body and placed excessive stress on her little heart.

“Within a couple more hours, her organs would have started suffering permanent damage,” Brian said, “and if we’d waited overnight … she would have died.”

Medication helped restore Evie’s blood flow for the time being and allowed her heart to relax. In the following seven months, she underwent a handful of procedures—the last being a surgery to cut the blocked portion of her aorta.

“We felt that the best thing for her, for her whole life, so she wouldn’t have blood pressure problems— which can lead to higher risk of having heart disease or even strokes later in life— was to fix this while she was little,” Dr. Robert Stewart, interim chair of pediatric and congenital heart surgery and surgical director of congenital heart transplantation at Cleveland Clinic Children’s said.

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Today, Evie’s family is preparing for her and her twin sister’s first birthday. Doctors expect her to live a long, happy and healthy life.

“I just feel so lucky to have both of them, [and] have them here and healthy,” Amy Vavra said in the release. “It’s been the hardest year of my life and also the best year of my life, and I just feel like I have so much to be grateful for this Mother’s Day.”