Newborn undergoes lifesaving open heart surgery

Newborn heart surgery saves boy's life

A toddler in Cobb County is thriving, thanks to the teamwork of his parents and medical professionals.

Chelsey and Joey Dillard's third child, Beau, was born with Down syndrome and a hole in the center of his heart, a common heart defect found in children with the genetic disorder.

The Dillards were prepared for Beau's birth and treatment plan as Chelsey, a nurse, began researching and connecting with other families to learn more about the genetic disorder.

When Beau was born on December 23, 2021, Dr. Nikhil Chanani, a cardiac ICU attending physician at Children's Healthcare, was part of the medical team.

Dr. Chanani treated Beau's hole in the center of his heart, which left the heart unable to pump blood where it needed to go.

The Dillards decided to wait four to six months to give Beau a chance to grow stronger before undergoing surgery, but Beau's health took a turn for the worse at three weeks old, and he was hospitalized.

Beau Dillard underwent heart surgery at five weeks old. His recovery was challenging as he dealt with respiratory problems and a series of infections.

Now, Beau is doing well, and his heart is recovering. He continues to face challenges but makes progress toward milestones with the support of his parents and medical professionals.

The Dillards are grateful for the support they've received and encourage other parents in similar situations to find their community and support system.

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