Noelle, a Heart Center first

"When your child has a disease, one of the parents’ responsibilities is to provide the best health care available. For me, as a person from a different country, the care at Packard is something to be proud of. I thought that a miracle really happened to Noelle, and I’m happy that more improvements may happen."
- Noelle's dad, Naoyuki

No open-heart surgery needed to replace heart valve

Three-year-old Noelle Takagi goes to summer camp, loves to play in the water, shows a knack for drawing, and sings a mean karaoke. To her parents, these activities are genuine miracles.

Noelle was born with a defective aortic valve that required open-heart surgery when she was 10 days old. At nine months, her replacement valve started leaking, and she faced the prospect of another difficult surgery or a transplant that had a 50 percent survival rate after five years.

Luckily, Noelle had a third option, and she became the youngest person to undergo a unique procedure that used a catheter to replace the valve without opening her chest. While the results have been positive, she still will require additional treatment as she grows older to replace the outgrown valve. ''I believe we made the right choice, but we appreciate that the doctors gave us options,'' says her father, Naoyuki Takagi.


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