Mending Little Hearts

jude4Congenital heart defects are the most common form of birth defect among American infants. 


More than 40,000 babies born each year with a serious, underlying heart condition.


Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a term used by cardiologists to describe a patient whose heart does not pump enough blood out to the rest of the body to meet the body’s demand for energy.


This can be due to either a heart that pumps well but is very insufficient (due to a structural problem), or it can be a result of a weak heart muscle that does not pump a normal amount of blood to the body.


Either situation will lead to backup of blood and fluid into the lungs if the left side of the heart is the problem or backup of blood and fluid into the liver and veins leading into the heart if the right side of the heart is problem.


It is not uncommon for both sides of the heart to fail at the same time and cause backup into both systems simultaneously.  Backup or excessive blood flow into the lungs, which is the most common use of the term in pediatrics.


Many cardiovascular problems that afflict older adults actually started when they were much younger.


A new initiative by the non-profit Mended Little Hearts and St. Jude Medical, Inc. the global medical device manufacturer, will offer an important new resource for parents who need answers—and it’s being headlined by none other than the mother of “Little Darth Vader,” Jennifer Page.


You may know her son Max from his appearances on the soap opera “The Young and the Restless” and from his well-known role as little Darth Vader in a Volkswagen Super Bowl commercial that has become a classic.


Max was born with a congenital heart defect and received a St. Jude Medical pacemaker when he was 3 months old.


At age 7, the child-actor had to have open-heart surgery because of his condition. The surgery replaced his pulmonary valve and repaired a hole in his heart.


The valve should last another 10-15 years before it has to be replaced with noninvasive surgery.


Now Jennifer is reaching out to other parents with the information they need.


In many cases, these kinds of problems in children aren’t properly diagnosed until it’s too late, as in the tragic cases you may have heard about high school athletes dying suddenly on the basketball court or football or soccer field.


The new initiative will spread awareness with online resources from Mended Little Hearts and St. Jude Medical.


Jennifer Page provides a parent’s perspective and is joined by a leading cardiologist and pediatric cardiac surgeon, Dr. David A. Ferry, on staff at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.


In addition to doing heart surgery procedures at Children’s, Dr. Ferry is Associate Professor of Pediatrics at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.


Jennifer and Dr. Ferry will provide background on the new online resource, as well as information on how your viewers can learn more.


The mission of Mended Little Hearts is to empower families with support and education about congenital heart disease. St Jude Medical, Inc. is a worldwide leader in research and development with products to treat congenital heart disease.


For More Information please visit the new website at:



§  Jennifer Page, Max’s mom, providing the parent’s perspective, also an ambassador for new web resource

§  David A. Ferry, MD, FACC, Pediatric Cardiologist, Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles, Assoc. Prof. Peds., UCLA School of Medicine