Meet Annie in Darien

Updated:Oct 16,2012

Annie Banks KWH ILAnnie Banks is a 13 year old entering 7th grade at Cass Jr. High. She loves playing soccer, swims on the Hinswood Kahunas swim team, has participated in gymnastics, and rides horses.  These are great achievements for Annie considering what she went through as a baby. 

Annie was born early and weighed only 2 pounds 9 ounces. She was 14 inches long. And she had a Complete AV canal heart defect.  This means that the middle part of her heart never developed before she was born. 

The doctors saw her heart on an ultrasound when she was still in her mom’s belly- and knew there was a big problem.  For the next few weeks, no one knew what to expect.  Ultrasounds and measurements were done every couple of days and everything was monitored very closely.  Then another problem came up. 

Annie’s mom started to get very sick with a very high blood pressure, so Annie had to be born early.  There were a lot of people in the operating room including the heart doctors.  After she was born, Annie had to stay in the hospital for 2 more months to try to grow, because the doctors needed to fix her heart as soon as they could. She was hooked up to lots of tubes, wires and machines.  When Annie was 5 months old and weighed 9 pounds, Dr. Ilbawi (a pediatric cardiac surgeon at Christ Hospital) performed a miracle.  He repaired Annie’s heart (which was only about the size of a walnut at that time) using Gortex patches, and made 2 heart valves for her.  She stayed in the hospital a few more weeks and then came home ready to catch up on all the things she missed out on when she was so sick. She still needed to learn to roll and sit up, crawl and walk, and even eat! Luckily she had lots of help and did very well.

Annie still sees her cardiologist, Dr. Tarek Huseyni.  He looks at her heart with an ultrasound, he does EKG tests to see how it’s beating, and she wears a monitor for 24 hours to see how well it works when she sleeping, playing, running and resting.  Her valves still leak a little, but may always do that.  Luckily it doesn’t stop her from participating in any of the sports she loves.  At first Annie saw Dr. Huseyni very often, then every few months, then every year.  Well the last visit in June, he said that he didn’t need to see Annie for 2 whole years!! Annie replied, “Yep- I’ll be a teenager then”!!

Annie (now a teenager) saw her cardiologist, Dr. Huseyni, in July 2012, and received a great report!