Twenty weeks into pregnancy, Jennifer Callaghan learned two startling facts: She would be having twins and one of the twins, Amanda, had transposition of the great arteries, a heart defect in which the main arteries (the pulmonary artery and the aorta) that carry blood to and away from the heart are switched.
HEAR Amanda's dad at Radiothon 2010
Once diagnosed at Franklin Square Hospital, Jennifer was immediately sent to Hopkins Children’s for care. Jennifer and her husband, Jason, were scared. They knew nothing about Amanda’s condition. But, cardiologists Dr. Spevak and Dr. Thomson sat down with them and patiently walked them through the details and possible scenarios, drawing diagrams and showing them pictures.
On July 27, 2005 at 34 weeks of gestation, Jennifer’s water broke and she gave birth to twin girls, Anna and Amanda. While Anna was perfectly healthy, Amanda’s heart condition would require surgery. Because she was too small for surgery, the surgeons had to wait for Amanda to grow and reach 5 pounds. However, to temporarily fix her heart, the doctors performed a procedure on Amanda when she was only five hours old.
Five weeks later, Amanda went in for open-heart surgery with pediatric cardiac surgeons Duke Cameron and Luca Vricella. The surgery went fine and she was able return home a week later. Since then Amanda has been completely healthy with only minor hiccups, considered more or less normal after surgical repair. These include a heart murmur and minor leaks at the site of surgery, but her cardiologists believe she may outgrow both.
Today, Mandy is very active, energetic and social. She’s a total extrovert and loves to make friends and meet people, her mother says. Her sister, Anna, is quieter and shyer. Interestingly, although Amanda was baby B and the smaller twin at birth, she is now a full two inches taller than her sister.