A Life Yet to Live: Owen’s Reversal of Heart
Celebrating 10 Years of Healing Hearts at the UF Health Congenital Heart Center
From playing in the dirt to watching birds and squirrels, Owen Maier is a spirited, blue eyed and rosy-cheeked toddler. However, behind the animated personality, Owen is one of the many success stories from the UF Health Congenital Heart Center in Gainesville.
Ryan and Jessica Maier first knew something was wrong with their son when doctors rushed Owen into his first surgery at only five hours old. Both parents would soon discover that their son was born with transposition of the great artery, a rare congenital heart defect where the aorta and pulmonary artery are reversed. As a result of this disorder, patients experience a loss in the amount of oxygen flow from the heart to other parts of the body. Before Owen’s birth, no one in his family had been born with a congenital heart defect.
When Owen was two-and-a-half-weeks old, Mark Bleiweis, M.D., center director and chief of congenital cardiothoracic surgery at the UF Health Congenital Heart Center, performed an open-heart surgery and arterial switch procedure that would correct Owen’s heart defect. After Owen spent six weeks at the UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, Jessica and Ryan took their baby boy home for the first time. Fortunately, with the assistance of Children’s Miracle Network, a non-profit organization that raises funds for medical research and increases awareness about children’s health issues, and the multidisciplinary care he received at the UF Health Congenital Heart Center, Owen is a thriving two-and-half-year-old.
Whether it is jumping into a pile of leaves or following his big brother, Noah, Owen embraces life and the great outdoors. He also knows when to take a break and to enjoy watching Mickey Mouse or Thomas the Train with his mother.
Every six months, Owen receives check-ups at the UF Health Congenital Heart Center. At regular appointments, the first order of business for Owen is playing doctor and providing Dipankar Gupta, M.B.B.S, D.C.H, M.D., pediatric cardiologist at the UF Health Congenital Heart Center, and Jay Fricker, M.D., Gerold L. Schiebler Eminent Scholar in Pediatric Cardiology at the UF Health Congenital Heart Center, a thorough “check-up” of their own. Both physicians work with the Maiers to ensure that Owen’s heart continues to grow with him and function properly.
The UF Health Congenital Heart Center in Gainesville offers patients of all ages, like Owen, comprehensive care for congenital heart disease and acquired heart diseases.