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Tricuspid atresia and truncus arteriosus are two medical conditions most parents have never heard of. But there is one local mom who is quite familiar with both since her son, Tristan, was born with a complicated heart.

“The day that Tristan was born was very complex. We knew before he was born that he had tricuspid atresia, but since it is so rare to have both tricuspid atresia and truncus arteriosus occur together, we didn’t know about it until after he was born,” explains Shanade, Tristan’s mom.

Tricuspid atresia occurs when the tricuspid valve fails to form, leaving two adjoining chambers of the heart without an opening between them. Truncus arteriosus is another congenital heart defect that results in one, instead of two, vessels coming out of the heart.

“In layman’s terms, he was not able to breathe like the rest of us,” says Shanade.

“Both of these conditions ultimately need surgical intervention,” says cardiac surgeon Sunjay Kaushal, MD, of pediatric cardiac surgery

Operations Lead to a Healthy Future

“Tristan had six open heart surgeries and he is only six years old. He has spent about a year and a half of his life as a resident at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital,” adds Shanade.

Needless to say, Tristan’s heart looked and acted far from normal and needed surgeries and cardiac catheterizations to get it in proper working order. Peter Gaskin, MD, Michael Slack, MD as well as Dr. Kaushal, are all part of an even bigger team taking care of Tristan.

But having great care for his heart means Tristan can look forward to his future and dream big. His mom says he changes his mind often about what he wants to do when he grows up. However, being part of the military and being a paratrooper are really interesting to him right now.

“Finally, I am healthy,” says Tristan.

Are you looking for a pediatric specialist? Call the UM Children’s Hospital 410-328-5887.