Congential Heart Disease

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Congential Heart Disease

Congential Heart Disease
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Dear All

I've just recieved a phone call from a very excited mummy. Her little one James is 14 weeks old, and has just been told by his surgeon that he is able to join infant aquatic classes. Their inention is to join me next week. James under went surgery at only a week old. Could anyone offer any advise as to if there are any particular practises I should avoid. I'm about to research his condition as I have very limited knowledge in this area. Any help advice would be grately appreciated.


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Wed, May 9 2007 3:37 PM In reply to

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Re: Congential Heart Disease
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Hi Sara

I missed seeing this post until now but hope that I'm not too late to offer a little advice from my experience as the mum of a little boy who had a congential heart disease (CHD) and, with hind-sight, as an infant aquatics instructor.

Matthew was born with the condition Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome nearly seven years ago. This meant that his left ventrical hadn't formed properly and wasn't working. He had his first open heart surgery at two days old and his second at five months. As Matthew's consultants and surgeons kept telling us to treat him as an ordinary baby that's what we did: I don't think I ever asked them about starting swimming - just did it! I started taking him to Francoise and Sally's classes in Cambridge when he was eight months old: when his "zip up chest" had healed the second time. He absolutely loved it. I hope that Francoise and Sally don't mind me saying that we were all a little taken aback at just how much he was up for anything. We didn't have to stint on any exercise we did in the water as it was really the only 'workout' he got to begin with (until he started TumbleTots!). I kept an eye out for any of the tell tale signs of respiratory distress, but never saw any in the water.

It was an amazing learning curve for me being in the water with Matthew: he taught us what he could do and I never looked back. He loved submersions, seal dives in particular, and, as he got older, bobbing off on his own on woggles.

The 'trick' is to be led by the little boy in question exactly as you would be led by a child without CHD. Your little boy's mum will be aware of any signs of distress that her son may show (though hopefully she will never see one) and will know if anything seems out of kilter.

If you (or the little boy's mummy) have any questions that come from this reply, you can call me on 01767 677518. I hope it has been of some help.