Brennan Marasco


Brennan’s family’s journey with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta started before he was born – about 18 weeks into his mom’s pregnancy, when doctors discovered a heart defect on Brennan’s sonogram. Brennan was born with Pulmonary Atresia, which means his main pulmonary artery never fully developed.  Without this artery there is no normal path for the blood to travel from his heart to his lungs to be oxygenated, and, without surgery, he would suffocate. Brennan was transported to CHOA’s Sibley Heart Center about 12 hours after birth and given medicine so that he could survive until surgery. He had his first open heart surgery four days later. He weighed only 5.5 lb and was too small for a long term fix so they gave him a temporary “shunt” so he could grow bigger over the following months and survive a more invasive surgery.  The shunt meant that Brennan's blood was only oxygenated to about 75%. A normal person has 100% oxygen saturation. When Brennan was 11 months old, he had his second open heart surgery, a “full repair,” during which they put in an artificial main pulmonary artery and valve. These aren't living and don’t grow, so regular checkups and repeat surgeries are required. He had his third open heart surgery just before his 5th birthday, and he will require more as he grows and ages. Today Brennan is a very active boy. He enjoys soccer, karate, drama and singing, and is thrilled to be a part of UGA’s Dance Marathon!