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Durham youngster Abbie, eight, has rare heart condition
7:00am Monday 25th February 2013 in News
AN eight-year-old girl who was born with only half a working heart is living life to the full, despite her health troubles.
Abbie Bayes was diagnosed with hypoplastic right heart syndrome at six weeks old and underwent surgery at 13-weeks old.
She faced another operation aged four at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle and will require a transplant in the future.
The determined youngster is living life as fully as she can despite her deteriorating condition.
Mum Tracy Pears, of Durham, said: “We feel like we’re on borrowed time with Abbie, so we make sure that every day counts.
“We make the most of our time and we spoil Abbie rotten. Whatever she wants to do, if we can make it happen, we will do it.
“We always carry a camera with us as we want to get memories of Abbie all the time and we’re always doing something.”
Abbie was born with the serious heart defect but no problem was picked up for the first six weeks of her life.
Parents Tracy, 43, and Gary Bayes, 46, first learned something was wrong when a routine check-up detected their daughter had a heart murmur.
Subsequent tests revealed that she had the condition and would need intensive treatment at the region’s children’s heart unit to survive.
Ms Pears, a carer, said: “When we were first told that Abbie had heart failure I immediately thought that she was not going to make it.
“It came as a shock as she looked like any other child her age and was doing everything that you would expect a baby to do.”
Abbie now finds it difficult to walk up stairs as she gets out of breath easily and her lips and fingernails often go blue due to lower oxygen levels.
Her condition means that the right side of her heart is underdeveloped and is unable to pump enough blood around her body.
The complex congenital condition puts added pressure on the working side of the heart as it compensates for the damaged side.
The added pressure eventually leads to the organ failing and the need for a heart transplant.
Ms Pears said: “I can’t put into words how great the team is at the Freeman’s children’s heart unit as they do an outstanding job.
“They give you so much confidence that your child is going to get the best care possible and that everything will be done to help."
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