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Girl first local patient during Heart Week


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POSTED: Saturday, April 25, 2009

When 6-year-old Kristen Vindinhar was born, doctors told her parents, Brian and Chrystine Vindinhar, she was a normal, healthy child.

But a month later, she stopped breathing, her father said. Doctors discovered she had a large hole in her heart and muscle bundles around one of the valves, he said.

When she was 3 months old, Vindinhar said, Kristen underwent surgery at the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University. She came home on a ventilator and was on it for about two years—the first year at Kaiser Moanalua Medical Center and then at home.

“;After that she was well, a normal child,”; he said. Then they discovered after she played hard, she would turn a little blue.

In September, Kaiser cardiologist Lance Shirai diagnosed Kristen with scimitar syndrome.

“;It's really rare,”; Brian Vindinhar said. “;When I looked it up on the Internet, they said three out of 100,000 people get it.”;

He said Dr. Carlos Moreno-Cabral, head of Kapiolani's pediatric cardiac program, explained the complicated defect.

The word “;scimitar”; refers to the shape of the pulmonary vein, appearing like a curved sword in an abnormal location. Basically, Vindinhar said, “;One of the arteries coming out of the heart was taking nonoxygenated blood and dumping it back to the lung.”;

At first, he said, doctors thought Kristen might have to go to San Diego to repair her heart. However, Dr. John Lamberti said her case was considered for surgery during Heart Week. “;We discussed it and arranged further testing and said we would do it here.”;

That was a huge relief, Vindinhar said, describing the costs and difficulties of being away from home and his business for 3 1/2 months when Kristen was at the Stanford hospital.

The surgery was done April 6—the first case during Heart Week at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children. Kristen was back home in Hawaii Kai April 11 and “;should be able to do whatever she wants in six weeks,”; Lamberti said.