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The Da Silva Family's CHD Journey

Chantelle was 21 weeks pregnant and went for a regular check up with their gynecologist. It was at this appointment that Chantelle’s gynae picked up that there was something wrong with Kyle's heart. “We were referred to another doctor who was able to do a 4D scan and check Kyle's heart.”

When Kyle was born on the 12th February 2018 he stopped breathing and was taken to NICU. “I insisted with the nurses that I wanted to see my son,” says Chantelle, “but my blood pressure was too high and I had to wait.” A few hours later Chantelle was able to go to the NICU with her husband, “I got to hold my son for the first time... so perfect”. Kyle was diagnosed while in NICU with ASD - Atrial Septal Defect, (a hole in the wall of his heart that divides the upper chambers). At a follow up appointment, when Kyle was one month old, the Da Silvas went to see their paediatric cardiologist, who informed them that Kyle's hole wouldn't close by itself and that he would need to undergo surgery at three or four years old. “Our hearts were broken!! We were not sure what to expect with all the uncertainty for the road ahead.”


Kyle contracted the RSV virus when he was 4 months old - a virus that causes infection in the respiratory tract - and was admitted to hospital. “By day five, kids with the same virus were starting to go home but Kyle got worse. It was on his fifth day in hospital that his pediatrician said they have to move him to NICU so that he can get better treatment and oxygen - they could monitor him there 24/7.”

While in NICU, Kyle's paediatrician got a cardiologist to go to the hospital and look at Kyle's heart. Kyle's hole in his heart was 10mmx12mm. “Our cardiologist gave us hope, so we moved over to her and went to see her every once a year where she would check his heart and see if his hole got smaller.”


In June 2021 Kyle’s cardiologist checked his heart again and this is when the Da Silvas got the “bad news that Kyle would have to go for an open heart surgery to close the hole completely. We were devastated, scared of the unknown. On 6 September 2021 Kyle was admitted to Netcare Sunninghill Hospital. Paediatric cardiologist, Dr Meares, did a sonar again and checked his heart to see what they would be dealing with. Kyle’s anaesthetist, Dr Naidoo and cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr Schürmann came to see us and explained the process, they were AMAZING!!”

7 September 2021 was the big day. Kyle's hole was successfully closed. “The WHOLE TEAM that worked on Kyle was the BEST and we will forever be grateful for each one of them. They saved our son and gave him the opportunity to live a normal life. The CTICU team was also AMAZING, and took good care of Kyle. And a big thanks to Kyle’s perfusionist, MJ Mophosho, who took our son's life in his hands with the bypass. Thank you all so so so much.


“Today, he is his old self again. Our little heart warrior is so strong and is doing great. His wound has healed PERFECTLY, they did a great job.

“Our family would like to thank each and every Dr, nurse, receptionist, AMPATH and xrays for being there for us every step of the way. We are so grateful.”


Photographs: Chantelle Da Silva. Shared with permission.

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