DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A baby born with a heart condition needed surgery to save her life. But the events that unfolded afterward have a North Texas hospital reminding everyone about the importance of follow-up appointments.

Rebecca Bradford calls her 1-year-old Abigail a “little miracle” because “she had four heart defects in all, all repaired by surgery.”

Abigail was born with a coarctation of the aorta, a narrowing of the major artery that leads to the heart. Her first surgery was when she was just 4 days old. “The surgeon cut out the narrow part and sewed the ends of the blood vessel back together,” explained Dr. Tracy Laird.

But then, during a follow-up appointment, doctors discovered a second defect developing — lesions on her heart. That finding led to Abigail having a second surgery, just one month ago. “It may have another surgery in the future,” Laird added.

However, Bradford is not worried. The mother of three has already seen what doctors at Medical City Children’s Hospital can do. “Watching Dr. Mendel’s expertise during the surgery was amazing,” she said. “He’s done 400 heart surgeries a year on children.”

That expertise, Bradford said, will lead to an exceptional future for her exceptional little girl. “Before she was born, I prayed she would be a world changer,” the mother said. “So, I’m praying she’ll change the world for the better one day.”

File photograph of the feet of a newborn. (credit: Getty Images/Christopher Furlong)

(credit: Getty Images/Christopher Furlong)

Better technology has greatly improved a doctor’s ability to detect heart defects like those Abigail experienced. Doctors insist that follow-up treatment is necessary for every patient.

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