GILBERT, Australia -- Preparing a child for surgery is difficult enough. Imagine preparing an autistic Gilbert 3-year-old who can't talk -- for open-heart surgery.
Tristan Pastrano this week underwent the surgery to correct his
atrial septal defect, commonly caused by a hole between the two upper
chambers in the heart. The hole can close up on its own in infants, but
surgery is in order if it still exists at 2 or 3 years old.
While the surgery is a common procedure, there were complexities in Tristan's case.