HOUSTON (KTRK) --Looking at little Mohammad, you would never know he had open heart surgery about a month ago. A surgery that was four years in the making, but a journey that started before birth.
Fetal cardiologist, Dr. Carrie Altman said, "It turned out that he had a really rare thing called absence of the ductus venosus, where the blood flow that's circulating around to the baby that's coming back to the placenta doesn't have the normal restrictions."
That caused his heart to become enlarged. Advised by other physicians elsewhere to terminate the pregnancy, the Usmans were not ready to give up and made a decision to transfer to Texas Children's. Closely monitored and delivered full term, they prepared for surgery after Mohammad was born. But then his heart began to shrink back to a normal size.
"They told me there's nothing to worry. He does have problems, but we will take care of it," Mohammad's father, Itratmehboob Usman explained.
During the next three years, Mohammad continued to hit some milestones and was monitored closely. As he neared his fourth birthday, cardiologists found that Mohammad developed a hole in the wall between his heart's upper chambers, as well as another issue.
Pediatric surgeon, Dr. Ruben Rodriguez said, "In addition to his congenital heart disease, he also had a defect or a hole in his diaphragm."
Known as a diaphragmatic hernia, Dr. Rodriguez says it needed to be addressed to avoid future health issues.
"Whenever the intestines are in a place they don't belong, like the chest, there is a risk of harm or damage to those particular portion of the intestine," Dr. Rodriguez explained.
To mitigate the risks, congenital heart surgeon, Dr. Carlos Mery, along with Dr. Rodriguez collaborated to repair Mohammad's heart and hernia during one surgery, and it was a success.
Dr. Rodriguez said, "He recovered quite well. It's now been about a month since surgery."
"We're really optimistic that he's just going to live a long and healthy life," Dr. Altman said.
Mohammad's father couldn't be happier. He told us, "He's playing, he's active. But he by the grace of God is really good."