Six-year-old Caroline had big dreams of performing in her ballet studio's production of "The Nutcracker" this holiday season. But after a recent routine cardiologist appointment for what was initially believed to be a mild heart murmur, doctors at Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C., realized she needed open heart surgery to fix an unexpected, much more serious health condition.
When pediatric cardiac surgeon Dr. Manan Desai learned about Caroline's dancing dreams, however, he suggested a less invasive procedure that could help Caroline recover much faster – perhaps fast enough for her to keep her dancing date.
And it worked! Just weeks after receiving the surgery, Caroline fulfilled her Sugar Plum Fairy wishes and danced center stage in "The Nutcracker" earlier this month.