World’s first partial heart transplant performed at Duke Health


A group at Duke Well being has carried out what’s believed to be the world’s first partial coronary heart transplant, with the residing arteries and valves from a freshly donated coronary heart fused onto a affected person’s present coronary heart.

The purpose is to permit the valves to develop with the pediatric affected person over time, growing life expectancy. The group believes the same strategy might be used to position newly donated coronary heart valves in numerous different youngsters with coronary heart defects.

“This process doubtlessly solves the issue of a rising valve,” mentioned Joseph W. Turek, M.D., Ph.D., Duke’s chief of pediatric cardiac surgical procedure, who led the landmark surgical procedure.

“If we will eradicate the necessity for a number of open-heart surgical procedures each time a toddler outgrows an previous valve, we might be extending the lifetime of that little one by doubtlessly a long time or extra,” Turek mentioned.

The surgical procedure was carried out on 5-pound new child, Owen Monroe. His household is from Lillington, N.C., however he was born at Duke after his mother and father discovered that he had a situation known as truncus arteriosus, through which his two foremost coronary heart arteries have been fused collectively. Worse nonetheless, his one vessel was outfitted with a leaky valve, making it unlikely he may survive the await a full coronary heart transplant.

Sometimes, youngsters in conditions like Owen’s would obtain two preserved cadaver arteries with valves. However the implanted tissue used on this process does not develop with the kid’s personal coronary heart as a result of it is not residing. Pediatric sufferers require a number of follow-up open coronary heart surgical procedures to interchange the valves with bigger ones, dramatically limiting their life expectancy.

Within the novel partial coronary heart transplant, Turek and the Duke group — together with fellow pediatric coronary heart surgeon, Nicholas Andersen, M.D. and a big group of nurses, technicians and assist employees — used residing tissue and valves. The tissue was procured from a donor coronary heart that had robust valves, however couldn’t be used for full transplant because of the situation of the muscle.

The group’s effort to implant valves that would develop together with a affected person seems to be a hit. Owen is displaying exceptional progress and enhancements since present process the surgical procedure on April 22, 2022, and his outlook stays robust.

What’s significantly exceptional about this process, is that not solely is that this innovation one thing that may lengthen the lives of youngsters, however it makes use of a donated coronary heart that may in any other case not be transplantable.”

Michael Carboni, M.D., Affiliate Professor, Division of Pediatrics, Duke College College of Drugs and Owen’s pediatric transplant heart specialist

“The valves on this process come from a donor coronary heart that had muscle tissue which was too weak to make it viable for full transplant however had robust valves that have been nicely suited to Owen’s wants.” Carboni mentioned. “This innovation amplifies the methods through which we will use the unimaginable reward of organ donation to save lots of extra lives.”

Consultants at Duke are hopeful the same strategy might be used to deal with frequent valve replacements in youngsters, offering a one-time surgical procedure to implant freshly donated tissue that would develop with the kid.

“As harrowing of an expertise because it was for our household, we knew from the start that Owen was in one of the best palms,” mentioned Nick Monroe, Owen’s father. “Our biggest hope is that Owen’s success story will change the way in which organ donation and transplants are dealt with not just for congenital coronary heart illness infants, however for all sufferers.”

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