A girl who underwent life-saving surgery to close a hole in her heart when she was a baby is now a catwalk model on major fashion shows.
Amy Lee, the 8-year-old girl from East Grinstead, West Sussex, was born with a serious condition in her heart and was diagnosed at 4 months with a hole between two main arteries, according to BBC.
She made her debut on the catwalk in the London and New York fashion weeks in February and will also be part of both events coming September 2019.
Amy’s mother, Jennie, told The Evening Standard that “She just lights up when she’s on the catwalk. I’m so proud of her, especially given what she’s been through.”
In addition to her condition and the diagnosis of the hole in her heart, Lee, was also diagnosed with autism.
According to Amy’s mother, her daughter has always aspired to be a catwalk model. Despite her heart condition and her autism, she was determined to realize her aspirations of becoming a model.
Amy signed up with a modeling agency when she was five, and since then, she has modeled for various children’s designer brands, including ME Clothing.
“Amy is in her element when modeling and has a beaming smile on her face. She just lights up,” said her mother. “Amy is in her element when modeling and has a beaming smile on her face.”
Jennie is a sales representative who had previously been in Lidl and Sainsbury’s advertisements.
According to The Argus, Amy said, “I’m was very, very, very, very excited because it’s my favorite thing to do. My friend went to watch me in New York and I have friends who do it with me in London.”
The doctor who operated on her, said that it was wonderful being able to see Amy doing well.
“It’s wonderful to see how well Amy is doing and I wish her luck in her modeling career,” he said.
Amy’s mother told The Evening Standard that it had been the worst time for her when the 8-year-old was sick.
When the little girl was 4 months old, she was taken to the Evelina London Children’s Hospital after she became very sick—on Christmas Day.
And Amy spent more than a week on life support in intensive care.
It was only after that doctors had given their diagnosis—Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA), a condition in babies when the temporary blood vessel in the heart, ductus arteriosus, doesn’t close normally. If left untreated, the blood from the heart could flow to the lungs and cause permanent damage to both the lungs and the heart.
“The nurses on the unit were absolutely brilliant and the doctors helped to put me at ease by explaining what they could see on the scans and how they were going to treat her,” said Amy’s mother.
Aaron Bell, a consultant pediatric cardiologist for the hospital and his team performed the keyhole surgery on her when she was 7 months old.
According to CN24, they inserted a tube, called a catheter, into a vein at the top of her leg, and using an X-ray, it was guided along to the right position in her heart where a mushroom-shaped plug could then be used to fill the hole in her heart.
According to Bell, Amy was not doing well when her mother brought her to the hospital.
“Amy was pretty sick when she arrived and her heart was becoming enlarged. But the surgery was a success,” he said.
“Evelina London was amazing, without them we might not have her. Everyone from the cleaning staff and the receptionist to the clinical team were just so friendly and lovely,” said Amy’s mother.
Patent Ductus Arteriosus
Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA) is a temporary blood vessel that is found in babies before they’re born and a few days after they’re born.
According to KidsHealth, in most babies who have a normal heart, the PDA closes up on its own following the days after the birth of the baby.
On the chance that it doesn’t, blood could flow through the hole into the lungs. However, if the hole is small, it might close up on its own by the time the baby becomes one year old.
Which means, the bigger the hole in the heart, the bigger the problem.
When babies have a PDA, they might show some signs and symptoms, such as a forceful pulse, fast breathing, shortness of breath, poor growth, among the other symptoms.
Doctors choose to close the hole in the heart if the hole is big and blood is expected to overload the lungs and lead to the enlarged heart.
The doctors may also close the PDA if there is a risk of developing a heart infection, endocarditis. Endocarditis affects the tissues that line the heart and blood vessels, and is another serious problem that requires treatment.