A promising young Scots footballer has confounded cardiac specialists in Glasgow with her recovery from a life-threatening heart defect.

Ten days after she was born Mia Scott was undergoing emergency, open-heart surgery to save her life.

She was born with pulmonary atresia, a condition where blood cannot flow between the right pumping chamber (right ventricle) into the lungs to pick up oxygen. 

Often, this is because the large blood vessel that carries blood to the lungs (the pulmonary artery) hasn’t developed properly, and the right ventricle is smaller than usual.

Treatment usually necessitates the insertion of a 'conduit', which is a tube containing a valve, placed to connect the right ventricle to the pulmonary artery and this was done when Mia was 13 months old.

The surgical team advised Mia’s parents, based on their experience with other children, that this conduit would likely last Mia until she was about five years old, or at best, 10.

However, after showing an interest in football at just three, the hospital check-ups came and went and she continued to thrive.

The Herald: Mia Scott has set her sights on a career in professional footballer despite being born with a serious heart problemMia Scott has set her sights on a career in professional footballer despite being born with a serious heart problem (Image: NHS GGC)

At ten she was told by cardiologists that her VO2 Max  was "better than some people with a healthy heart."

This is the amount of oxygen your body uses while exercising as hard as you can and is used to measure fitness levels. 

It wasn't until she was 15 that she required corrective, open-heart surgery. 

The 16-year-old, who lives in Clarkston and has played for the national team, is still in recovery but is focussed on getting back on the pitch.

"Growing up, I didn't think of myself having a heart defect, I felt healthy," said Mia.

"The conduit that I received when I was a baby lasted far longer than any of us expected.

"At appointments, the doctors were telling me that my VO2 Max levels were better than some people with a healthy heart.

The Herald:

"Then, when I reached 13, I finally started to feel a bit breathless and my chest was becoming tight, and exhaustion was creeping in during some matches.

"It was at that point that doctors told me that my conduit was finally reaching its time to be replaced and I was taken in for the ballooning of the conduit to give me a bit more time."

Receiving her first Cap for her country was a dream come true for the teenager. She was invited to return to play for Celtic Under-16s and attended two Scotland Under 16s training camps.


At the beginning of this season, Mia returned to play for Glasgow City and was training four nights a week with her club and playing a match at the weekend.

She received a replacement, donor conduit at the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow last month under the care of Professor Mark Danton, who had performed her earlier surgery.

One week before she went under the knife she was playing football with Glasgow City Under-18s.

"I am being sensible with my recovery, but I have one dream in sight and that’s to be back on that pitch," she said.

"I don’t see this surgery as hindering me. It is the opposite.

"Now, I hope to be even stronger. I can’t wait to get back to my team at Glasgow City and I dream of playing for the Scotland squad once again."

Congenital heart disease (CHD) is one of the most common types of birth defect, affecting almost 1 in 100 babies born in the UK. More patients are now surviving into adulthood but require life-long monitoring and in many cases repeat surgeries.

Her mother, Lynn, said: "I have a message to all the parents whose kids might have just been diagnosed with a heart defect.

"There is a chance at a bright future. Live every day with them.

"Not every child is going to be as fortunate as Mia but there will be areas of enjoyment and activity that they can take part in.

"They will go on to be passionate about something and will find something that they love.”