Vinny’s Story

Young Vinny stands with a little help from family

Vinny’s complex congenital heart disease (CHD) was detected before he was born. Both Mom and Vinny’s health were followed closely during pregnancy by the Congenital Heart Collaborative’s fetal team at UH Rainbow.

After Vinny was born, doctors performed a minimally-invasive procedure in the Cath Lab to make sure that enough blood was getting to his lungs – ultimately eliminating the need for an open heart surgery for him as a newborn.

Vinny and friend in recovery

Vinny’s vitals and growth, like many babies with complex CHD, were followed closely by Hearts at HOME – a team approach to virtually monitoring high risk babies with a special App and home equipment. The Hearts at HOME App is an effective tool for caregivers; in the 4 years since the program launched at UH Rainbow it has been proven to detect issues early and decrease the length of a hospital stay.

Vinny had some ups and downs – a repeat Cath Lab procedure to increase oxygen levels and a feeding tube for poor weight gain – both identified and treated quickly because Vinny’s family was diligent with the App.

In March, Vinny had his CHD repair with open heart surgery. It went amazingly well, and Vinny was home with his big sisters just days later. He recently celebrated his first birthday, is feeding all by mouth, and walking everywhere! His care team is in awe at how much he’s grown.

A smiling Vinny shows off his post-op scar

“It was bittersweet to graduate from the Hearts at HOME Team because we are so thankful for them. At the same time, we are so proud of Vinny and the progress he has made,” said Vinny’s mom Shayna Inama. “A special thank you to his entire care team over the last year: Dr. Plummer, Jodi, Shannon, Karah, Eman, Meghan, Dr. Devaney, Dr. Bocks, Dr. Lozier, Dr. Strainic, and everyone else who helped Vinny along the way…It takes a village!”

As part of the Congenital Heart Collaborative’s comprehensive approach, Vinny’s team will keep an eye not only on his heart over time, but also on his development. This program, called CANDI, ensures any potential developmental or learning issues are identified and addressed as soon as possible.