Her whole life, Maddie Campbell had a hole in her heart and didn’t know it. She had atrial septal defect (ASD), which is an opening in the septum, or muscular tissue, between the left and right atria, the upper valves of the heart. In the first weeks of pregnancy, an embryo’s heart starts as a hollow tube. As it develops, a wall grows between the two sides of the heart. An ASD occurs when this partition remains incomplete, leaving a hole in the heart wall.
As a young adult, Maddie lived a happy, healthy active life. Then, one day in the shower, she felt the left side of her body go numb and she lost vision in her left eye. Her family rushed her to Baptist East in Louisville where Maddie learned she’d had a stroke. After receiving tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) to minimize the effects of the stroke, Maddie continued undergoing tests which revealed the hole in her heart.
Because ASD is often hereditary, Maddie’s two brothers were tested and the family learned her brother Charlie, who was just 16 at the time, also had ASD. Physicians were able to address his condition before he could experience anything like Maddie had.
Today, Maddie and Charlie are both living happy, active lives. Her family is grateful to the nursing staff at Baptist East as well as her Neurologist, Dr. Alex Abou-Chebl; Cardiologist, Louis Gregory Meriwether and Cardiac Surgeon, Dr. Sebastian Pagni.
“Spectacular. Awesome,” says Marianne Hafele, Maddie’s mother of their experience with the Baptist East team. “From every aspect. From our entry to the emergency room to the stroke unit, to when we were on the floor for the stroke patients. And then, when we got into the whole cardiovascular side every bit from start to finish was great.”
And Maddie knows how lucky she is. “I’m just so appreciative for the life that I have and realize how many blessings I have and to not take any of it for granted.”