Little Scots girl has ‘broken heart’ mended as mum thanks incredible docs who saved tot

The mum of a Scots toddler has urged people to never believe a ‘broken heart can’t be mended’ after hero docs repaired her daughter’s condition in just four days.

Leah Sharp, aged four, was diagnosed with an atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD) on August 27, 2019.

Atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD) is a heart defect whereby there are holes between the chambers on its right and left side.

Mum Lauren Koch, 25, said that the condition, accounting for 4% of all heart defects diagnosed in children, was “totally foreign” to her.

Lauren told the Record: “It came after a doctor heard a murmur in Leah’s chest and sent her for an urgent scan, which revealed that she had a hole in her heart.

“When they broke the news to me that she had AVSD, it was such a big shock.

“It was like a feeling of when you’re about to cry and you have that lump in your throat, but you can’t cry.

“That’s how I felt for about a week. I didn’t really know what to say or what to do.”

A doctor had heard a murmur in Leah’s chest

With AVSD, the valves that control the flow between the heart chambers can struggle to form correctly and can cause major complications.

If left untreated, there is a risk of brain damage, kidney damage and lung complications such as pneumonia. AVSD can also be fatal.

The mum, from Dunbar, continued: “I didn’t want to research AVSD on purpose. There are so many different versions of Leah’s heart condition and there’s so many different outcomes of how things can be.

“I’ve read stories about newborn babies not even making it out of hospital.”

Leah was initially monitored and doctors later informed Lauren that her daughter would need open heart surgery, to protect her from future issues.

Lauren said: “It was overwhelming, but at the same time it was a relief to know what would happen to help Leah.”

Leah was admitted to the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow on Thursday, March 24, 2021 and had open heart surgery the next day.

Her family anxiously waited for seven hours, trying to remain positive and tried to avoid thinking of the worst case scenario.

Lauren explained how difficult the anxious wait was for her and Leah’s extended family.

“We just wanted it over and done with,” Lauren added.

Leah was admitted to the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow
Leah was admitted to the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow

“Then we finally got the call to say that the surgery had been successful and Leah then astounded staff with how fast she recovered.”

As a result of her quick recovery, Leah was just four days after being discharged and now her grateful mum is indebted to the medical staff who saved her little girl.

Lauren said: “Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t mend a broken heart because it took just four days.

“It was so successful. It was a massive relief.

“Apart from the headaches, you’d think nothing has happened to Leah. It’s quite remarkable what kids can go through at such a young age.

“But also trust in your doctors and your nurses. What they’re capable of is remarkable and we’re so lucky to have the NHS.

“I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t have that trust in them. They’re amazing.”

Leah is currently taking time off from the nursery to recover and is doing well.

Described as “super shy but really cheeky at the same time,” the four-year-old is looking forward to starting school after the summer.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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