Best Life: Smart app helps monitor pediatric heart health at home

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 6:46 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 9, 2021 at 7:38 AM CDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (Ivanhoe Newswire) - It’s a surprising stat -- one in 100 babies born today will be born with congenital heart disease. More than 2,000 babies in the U.S. are born with the most severe form. For these infants, their first months are spent in the hospital. Now, new technology is allowing parents to take their babies home with the assurance doctors are keeping a close watch on them.

Little De’Angelo junior has smiled through a lot this past year. He was born with a complex form of hypoplastic right heart syndrome.

“Parts of his heart didn’t form. We have chambers that open and close to let blood flow in. His was like born like a wall,” explained Miracle Redrick, De’Angelo’s mom.

After 118 days and one heart surgery, De’Angelo was sent home to wait for his next operation.

“We’re very focused on watching them closely at home, but we’d like for them to get home, that’s the best place for them to be if we can do it safely,” assured Sarah Plummer, MD, a pediatric cardiologist at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

New digital home monitoring technology called Hearts at Home is helping doctors keep an eye on De’Angelo from a distance. Oxygen levels, heart rates, and weight can be monitored in real-time through an app every single day.

“There’s also a place for them to put photographs, videos, additional information in terms of how the babies are feeding and pooping and peeing, and if they’re throwing up or not,” continued Plummer.

“We are constantly on the iPad, on the desktop and viewing where these families are at. We’re on the phone and we’re catching things early for these families to make sure that nothing is happening at home,” shared Jodi Zalewski, a nurse practitioner at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

Something did happen to De’Angelo he caught COVID-19. But even then, this little fighter stayed home.

“It allowed us to watch him from afar and not have to admit him to the hospital,” said Dr. Plummer.

“He’s strong, he’s strong. He fights off a lot,” smiled Miracle.

Now, De’Angelo is feeling better waiting at home with his mom and dad for his next procedure.

Before Hearts at Home, parents would need to refer to a binder full of information on what to watch out for and to record their data. Since implementing the app in 2017, no babies at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital have died while at home waiting for their next procedure. Before the app, that number was as high as 15 percent nationwide.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; and Kirk Manson, Videographer.

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