Fetal Heart Program
Patient Stories | Griffin and Left Ventricular Non-Compaction Cardiomyopathy

Heart Care Before Birth Makes All the Difference for Griffin

Cincinnati Children’s experts saved Griffin's life with specialty care before and after birth

By: Erika Pauly, Griffin's mom 

Griffin's heart story started before we even knew he would be a Griffin! At my routine 14-week scan, we found that the baby's heart rate was abnormally low. After multiple follow up ultrasounds showing the same dangerously low heart rate, we were sent for an evaluation with the Fetal Heart Program at Cincinnati Children's.

After initial fetal echocardiograms and consultations with the amazing doctors on the Fetal Heart team, Griffin's first diagnosis was fetal bradycardia with unknown cause. Several scans later there was a clear abnormal development of the heart muscle, still with unknown cause.

It was determined then that Griffin and I would need to be monitored for the remainder of the pregnancy in the Cincinnati Children’s Fetal Care Center and be delivered at Children's Special Delivery Unit so my baby could be cared for immediately in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU).

The weeks leading up to Griffin's due date were stressful, scary, and mentally and physically exhausting, and yet being in the care of the doctors at Cincinnati Children's made it all manageable. Even after being told that it would not be until after he was born that we would really know the extent of his heart condition, we still were able to approach that time with positivity and confidence.

Griffin's primary condition is Left Ventricular Non-Compaction Cardiomyopathy (LVNC). He was born in June 2023 at Cincinnati Children's and spent some time in the CICU and the Acute Cardiac Care Unit (ACCU) where he, and we, received the most incredible care.

Griffin is beating the odds and continues to have optimal heart function at all of his scans. His doctor, Angela Lorts, MD, is on the Cardiomyopathy team and is an angel on earth. She is compassionate, patient, and extremely knowledgeable, giving us the utmost confidence.

Our family feels an indescribable amount of gratitude to Dr. Lorts, the Fetal Heart team, and the entire Heart Institute at Cincinnati Children's

Taking the Best Care of Griffin

Dr. Lorts considers Griffin's continued success as a credit to the entire Cincinnati Children's team, as well as crucial parental involvement.

“Getting to know Griffin and his family has been a gift," said Dr. Lorts. "Griffin’s parents searched for answers and information prior to the birth and were prepared for whatever the next step was going to be. Cheers to the fetal group, who was able to detect the anomaly and collaborated with the cardiomyopathy team to take the best care of Griffin.”

(Published May 2024)