Paul Baier was born June 29, 2007. He was given a clean bill of health in the first hours after his birth, but the next day, a nurse noticed Paul was turning pale. At first, doctors thought that Paul could have a bacterial infection of some kind, but an echo cardiogram soon revealed that Paul had five serious congenital heart defects. Without emergency surgery within days – he would die. Essentially, Paul’s heart was pumping the wrong way - his main arteries were switched around so his blood was not getting enough oxygen -his aorta was pinched - he had two holes in his heart - and his pulmonary artery was too narrow.
Dr. Richard Jonas performed an eight hour open heart surgery on Paul when he was 12 days old. The “fix” included inserting what’s called a homograph – a donated baby aorta that connects Paul’s pulmonary artery with the right ventricle of his heart. The donated connector does not grow with him. So, at 10 months old, Paul had to have it replaced – with a bigger version –another donated aorta. Dr. Jonas performed another successful open heart surgery on Paul.
Since that time, Paul has also had seven angioplasties to open his arteries with stents and to clear the homograph as well as a 3rd open heart surgery in September of 2013. Paul will have to have at least one more surgery and several other procedures in the catheter lab as he continues to grow. But, now – Paul is a very active and growing boy. Thanks to Dr. Jonas and all of the doctors and nurses at Children’s National Medical Center – Paul is alive and thriving today.