My Story

Evelyn Hazel Keltgen was born June 23, 2007.  She was diagnosed with primary pulmonary hypertension at the age of 6 weeks and started treatment by the age of 3 months.  Her PH specialist is Dr. Ivy in Denver, CO.

Evelyn is a wonderful girl - smart, active, and full of life! She captures the hearts of all who know her.

Evelyn was born June 23, 2007 and within minutes of birth started to turn grey and not be able to breath. She was diagnosised with bilateral tension pneumothorax and was air-lifted to Children's Hospital in Minneapolis. The flight team arrived a couple hours after her birth and put a chest tube in on the right side to relieve the pressure. The left was not severe enough to require a chest tube. She spent 6 days in the NICU. They gave her a clean bill of health with no long term effects. At the time of discharge her breathing was still rapid (about 80 breaths per minute) and they said it is common with pneumothorax and it should resolve in one to two weeks. Two weeks came and went and the breathing remained rapid. It wasn't until six weeks old that doctors started to become more concerned and she was referred to specialists (pulmonologist first, then cardiologist). She had echocardiograms that showed pulmonary hypertension and enlarged right atrium and ventricle due to the heart having to work hard to pump blood to the lungs. No heart defects were found. She had a CT scan of her chest and no abnormalities were reported. Therefore, she was given the diagnosis of primary pulmonary hypertension (no known cause for the pulmonary hypertension and therefore no way to fix a problem to correct it). In other words, there is no cure and will eventually lead to death. There are some drugs that are used to reduce the pressure and slow the progression of the disease, however, as the condition progresses the only other thing is a lung or lung-heart transplant. If left untreated the right side of the heart will be overworked and fail - cardiac arrest. None of the doctors can give us a time frame on how long she can sustain or her prognosis. None of the doctors have ever come across another case like Evelyn's before. Evelyn's care was initially provided in New York City by the late Dr. Robyn Barst, world-leading specialist of pediatric pulmonary hypertension. In April 2008 we started traveling to Denver, CO to her current PH specialist, Dr. Dunbar Ivy. Her follow-up care between heart catherizations is done in the Mayo Health System in Rochester, MN. We initially flew to NYC every three to four months where Evie had a heart catherization, EKG, CT, echocardiogram, and blood work. We currently travel to Denver once a year with a heart catherization annually.  Read our journal for on-going updates.

Evelyn has responded well to the medications and her pressures are remaining stable with a mild level of pulmonary hypertension.  She is growing well and developing normally.  She enjoys playing the piano, riding horse, riding bike, and learning about all types of animals. 

We have been humbled by people's generosity to us.  Your prayers and support are appreciated beyond words. 


Melissa Keltgen posted a new journal entry, "Released".

Well, Evelyn had a difficult recovery today. She had nausea and stomach pain from the anesthesia and did not feel well. They tried two different medications and neither ... Read more

Janette Stenzel signed Evelyn's Guestbook.

Great news!!! Hope all goes well and you have a safe trip home! Blessings! Janette Read more

Melissa Keltgen added a new photo.

Melissa Keltgen posted a new journal entry, "Amazing results!".

Dr. Ivy just came out to talk about Evie's cath results. Evie is still in the cath lab and we will get to see her in about a half hour. First of all, she was the bravest ... Read more

Melissa Keltgen added a new photo.

Melissa Keltgen posted a new journal entry, "Visit with Dr. Ivy".

Hello, This afternoon Evie had two echocardiograms, the first being in standard 2D and the second one with a new 4D machine. The 4D allows them to map the chambers and ... Read more

Melissa Keltgen posted a new journal entry, "Interview with Dr. Ivy".

This is a 20 minute interview with Evie's PH specialist, Dr. Ivy. The interview is educational and interesting (at least from my standpoint!).  He makes reference to Dr. ... Read more

Melissa Keltgen posted a new journal entry, "No News is GOOD News!".

Hello friends and family of Evelyn!Evelyn has had a wonderful and healthy year in first grade!  As of today, she has not missed a single day of school due to illness!  ... Read more

Sally Chennell signed Evelyn's Guestbook.

Happy Thanksgiving.  A mixed blessing, being well enough to not need Lois but missing her constant care.  So glad things are going that well.. Read more

Angela Heidelberger signed Evelyn's Guestbook.

God bless you Lois as you move on to the next chapter in your life! I rejoice with you Melissa in what this goodbye means for Evie's health! Read more

Show more recent activity