Transposition of the Great Arteries with Ventricular Septal Defect & Pulmonary Stenosis, Dextrocardia & Situs Inversus

SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital

Teagan's Story

Looking at seven-year-old Teagan Smith today, one would never know what she went through during her first several months of life.

“I had a completely normal pregnancy,” states Teagan’s mom, Alex. “I had a total of three ultrasounds and was told everything looked perfect. Oddly though, during my entire pregnancy, I just had this crazy feeling that something was wrong. I worried about my baby every single day.”

Teagan was born at a local hospital in Maryville, IL. It was an uncomplicated labor and delivery and Alex was able to hold and feed Teagan right away. About an hour later however, nurses and doctors noticed Teagan beginning to look “bluish” in color. They checked her oxygen saturations and found them to be much lower than normal. She didn’t respond when they gave her oxygen, and a chest x-ray quickly followed. “They told me that all of Teagan’s organs were on the wrong side, and that she would need to be intubated and taken to SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital right away.”

It was determined that Teagan had been born with a heart defect called Transposition of the Great Arteries with Ventricular Septal Defect and Pulmonary Stenosis. She also has Dextrocardia and Situs Inversus. That means that her heart and all her organs are on the wrong side. At five days old, Teagan had a balloon put into her heart through a cardiac catheterization in the Pediatric Hybrid Cardiac Catheterization Suite at Cardinal Glennon. The balloon would help her blood and organs get most of the oxygen that they needed until she could grow a bit bigger and have a larger surgery. She recovered well and was able to go home at 12 days old.

Following discharge, Teagan had nurses come to our home three times weekly at first, for weight and oxygen saturation checks. She also had visits to the cardiologist twice monthly. This was “normal life” until Teagan was about seven months old. The day before Thanksgiving, Teagan had a routine visit to the cardiologist. Her oxygen saturations were only in the 60’s at that check-up, and her color was off as well. Her pulmonary vein was closing up and causing less blood flow. “We spent the holiday in the hospital for another balloon procedure,” said Alex. “We all hoped this could get her through Christmas without doing her bigger surgery. And it did!”

At nine months of age, Teagan had her first open heart surgery, called a “Rastelli” procedure. A patch is used to close the VSD (ventricular septal defect) and direct oxygenated blood from the left ventricle to the aorta.

“Teagan’s surgery lasted 10 hours. She spent six days in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, then another six days on the Transitional Care Unit,” said Alex. “I was told her conduit should last at least five years, but that she would eventually outgrow it, and need it replaced.”

After her Rastelli procedure, Teagan had monthly visits with her cardiologist. Eventually those visits became every three months, then every six months, and now they are just annually. “We knew that this was something we would have to deal with for her entire life. But Teagan is so strong, and I know whatever we face in the future, she can get through anything,” says Alex.

Currently, Teagan is seven years old, and living her best life! “She loves books, unicorns, slime, nerf guns, and Barbie’s; dancing, art and movies – just to name a few,” said Alex. “Her most recent check-up was January 2020, and she is scheduled to be seen in January 2021. We know another surgery is pending, but we know we’re in good hands.”

How CMN Funds Help Kids Like Teagan:

Teagan has been fortunate to have access to the Pediatric Hybrid Cardiac Catheterization Suite, which was paid for in part by money raised by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals of Greater St. Louis. The region’s only pediatric hybrid suite, provided Teagan’s family with the utmost confidence that she was receiving, and will continue to receive, the best possible care with the use of innovative technology.

Update January 2023:

Teagan is now 9 years old and in the 4th grade. She is on a volleyball team and a member of the school choir. Teagan loves hanging out with her friends, playing video games, and traveling with family! Teagan’s goal is to visit all 50 states. She also loves being an ambassador for CMN! Teagan is seeing her cardiologist once a year to have her heart checked and is still waiting for another open surgery but is definitely living her best life!