Micro-surgery saves Mesa micro-babies The Mesa Tribune | The Hometown Newspaper for the city of Mesa, AZ

Micro-surgery saves Mesa micro-babies

Micro-surgery saves Mesa micro-babies


Mesa newborn twins Garrett and Carter Lopez got off to life with a rocky start.

They were almost three months premature when they were born Dec. 20 and their combined weight was less than that of a baby brought to full term. Each weighed just over 2 pounds.

As if that wasn’t a big enough challenge for the brothers, the “micro preemies” also had a life-threatening congenital heart defect that could lead to serious health issues, even death.

Enter a Banner Children’s at Desert medical team, which saved the infants with a unique procedure that addressed PDA, a common heart defect in premature newborns.

Infants born with PDA have an opening between two blood vessels leading from the heart that fails to close normally, making breathing difficult because of increased blood flow to the lungs.

“Just two years ago, this same life-saving treatment would have required open-heart surgery,” said Dr. Daniel Miga, a Banner Children’s pediatric cardiologist. “Medical advancements have given us the ability to treat this birth defect with a minimally invasive procedure that is helping them heal much faster than they otherwise would have.”

Using a small needle, Miga placed a micro-thin guidewire into tiny blood vessels in the leg and slipped it through the infants’ veins to the heart. Attached to the end of the wire was a miniature device used to carefully seal the opening.

The babies are now ready to keep on growing.

“They’re both doing great and Garrett has almost doubled in size since birth,” said their father, George Lopez, 30, of Mesa. “They’re still recovering, but making good progress. They’ve been through a long journey.”

Lopez and his wife Nicole have been visiting the infants every day in the Neonatal Intensive Care unit at Banner Children’s. With twins, both parents are allowed to visit, even during COVID visitor restrictions.

The boys, who are the Lopez’s first children, are expected to be treated in the hospital for another month.

“We’ll never forget the doctors and nurses in the NICU,” Lopez said. “It’s a blessing to have them.”

The Banner Children’s cardiac program cares for patients from fetus through adulthood. Services though include immediate access to Level I trauma services and emergency care, a Level III neonatal intensive care unit, general pediatrics, surgical and rehabilitation services, hematology/oncology, urology, gastroenterology, neurology and outpatient services. 

Information: bannerhealth.com/bannerchildrensatdesert.

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