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Meet penelope

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Diagnosis: Mitral Valve Disease (MVD), Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), and Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) 

Last Update: 2/6/23

Meet Penelope - a 1-year-old battling Mitral Valve Disease (MVD), Ventricular Septal Defect (VSD), and Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA). During a 20-week ultrasound, a heart defect was identified, and her family was told that immediate surgery at birth would correct her issues. After two months at home, Penelope began breathing heavily, failing to gain weight, and was admitted to Phoenix Children's Hospital during Easter weekend. 

We found that Penelope did not have the initial defect we suspected, but rather severe mitral valve disease, a VSD (hole in the heart), and later developed heart block - a condition where her heart cannot maintain a regular heartbeat rhythm. Over our 5-month inpatient stay, Penelope fought hard through 5 different heart surgeries - including repairs, a mitral valve replacement, and placement of a permanent pacemaker. Penelope has suffered seizures due to blood loss during one of her surgeries. With medication, she has not had any further seizure activity since, but it is unknown whether there might be permanent brain damage as a result.


With a new valve and her pacemaker keeping her safe, Phoenix Children's Hospital discharged us with a hefty medication regimen and NG nasal feeding tube. With ongoing therapy, Penelope is making huge strides to overcome major developmental delays. Her strength and determination are inspiring, and we are truly blessed to be her parents.

We are so blessed to be home with Penelope. She is an incredibly strong fighter! 

To contribute to Penelope, please click the button below:

To learn more about Mitral Valve Disease, click here

To learn more about Ventricular Septal Defect, click here

To learn more about Patent Ductus Arteriosus, click here

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