Andre Svensson

Only three years old but little Andre has already had six surgeries.

For most of little Andre Svensson’s life you could be forgiven for thinking he wore make up.  His mum Jess says he always looked like he wore purple lipstick, eye shadow, and nail polish.  His little heart was so severely broken there was just never enough oxygen circulating through his body. 

Three year old Andre was born with a complex heart condition; Double outlet right ventricle (DORV), Pulmonary Atresia and Straddling Arteries.  In lay person’s terms, the plumbing to and from his little heart was completely broken and blood and oxygen was not going to where it was supposed to.

Doctors told Jess and husband Caleb at the 20 week scan, that their unborn child were not so they should be.  “A month later the scan confirmed baby would have an issue with his heart, but they couldn’t tell us much more than that.  It meant for a pretty anxious pregnancy.”

Just three days after Andre was born he had his first surgery where doctors inserted a shunt to help with blood flow. At five months old came surgery two, followed by a number of keyhole surgeries.  By the age of three this Brave Heart has had six surgeries.

“He was such a sick wee baby and has always looked purple, like really purple.  Often even talking would tire him, and he just never had any energy,” Jess explains.  But just before Xmas 2018, life was about to change for little Andre.

“Doctors decided to fit him with a pacemaker.  But while he was on the by-pass machine his little body went into shock.  Three days later his lungs collapsed.”

It was a harrowing time for the family.  Luckily Andre pulled through and the pacemaker is now permanently inserted in his stomach. “It took a little adjusting to because Andre could actually hear it whirring away inside him and he couldn’t understand what it was.  But he’s good with it now, and slowly getting used to it.”  A monitor sits beside his bed and he has three monthly check-ups.

Jess says the best thing now is Andre’s colour.  “It is so nice to see him PINK! And he’s got so much more energy.”

The Rangiora family says Heart Kids has been an amazing support to them. “We didn’t know a thing about heart defects until we were pregnant with Andre, we never knew they existed. We were at a complete loss and didn’t know what to do.  And then we received a call from the Family Support Worker in Canterbury.  It was just so amazing to be able to have someone who understood what was going on. 

Heart Kids has been there for the family throughout Andre’s journey providing information, support and family connections. “to be able to meet and talk to families of other heart kids is incredible.”