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New Technology Helps Woman Born With Heart Condition More Than Four Decades After First Surgery

DENVER (CBS4) - Congenital heart defects are the number one birth defect and while they are not common, they can create a lifetime of complications. Treatment has come a long way and now, at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, a special program has the ability to treat the condition at birth through adulthood.

"The really nice thing about it, as you follow them, and sometimes they get lost and you have to remind them to come back for that 50,000 mile checkup, but when you are actually able to keep them in the same center then you have all the results of the operations and the records and so it kind of made my job a lot easier to know what she had done previously," said Dr. Immanuel Turner Chief of Pediatric and Adult Congenital Cardiac Surgery at RMHC.

rocky hospital
(credit: CBS)

Dr. Immanuel Turner is talking about one of his more recent patients. A 46-year-old woman born with a congenital heart defect who just had what she hopes will be her last operation.

"When you find a surgeon like that, you want people to know that he's here," said Miranda Brauch.

Brauch had her first surgery at 20 months old and was treated as a pediatric patient at RMHC until she was nearly 20.

heart patient
(credit: CBS)

Turner has been with RMHC for just 6 months and is making a huge impact. He was able to literally replace Brauch's pulmonary valve with the option for less invasive care moving forward. It was an operation Brauch said other specialists were nervous about tackling.

"I had no idea that they have this new technology that can give me a new lease on life and help me feel better," said Brauch.

February is American heart month and Dr. Turner said it's a good time to check in with your heart. He says that "50-thousand-mile checkup" doesn't have to be scary with the new technology and the knowledge they have to treat people.

"We're trained to be able to take care of Neonates, infants, all the way up," said Turner.

"The adult congenital population is one of the fastest-growing ones and I would encourage people if they have had prior surgery that they do see their primary doctor," Turner said.

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