Heart transplant

Doctors at Duke University Hospital perform new type of heart transplant on 14-year-old

DURHAM, NC (WTVD) – Doctors at Duke University Hospital achieved something that had never been done before.

Doctors performed a “heart donation after circulatory death” on a child. It’s a new technique that could help increase heart transplants by 50 percent.

Brandaline Rice is in awe of the implications of the success story, but she focuses more on the fact that her own daughter is now full of hope for the future.

“She can get another chance at things that she loves to do for a living,” Rice said.

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Nae, Rice’s 14-year-old daughter, was born with genetic deletion syndrome. Unable to fully communicate, she was hospitalized with breathing problems and later found out that she was suffering from heart failure.

“Sometimes I was even angry that my child had to go through this,” Rice said.

She needed a heart and she needed a quick one. So Duke’s doctors looked at new technology to speed up the solution.

“What happens is you take the heart out of the donor very quickly and put the heart on a pump profusely which then reanimates the heart,” explained Dr Nick Andersen.
Andersen is one of the doctors who donated after a circulatory death transplant.

“The whole new process, I didn’t really understand until after the surgery I realized how important it was,” Rice said.

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Rice’s daughter became the first pediatric patient to receive this type of transplant. Its success helps to pave the way for future patients.

“The patient and her family can be proud to have helped usher in a new type of transplant and to be in a way the pioneers of this in children,” said Andersen.

Nae is still in the hospital recovering and is doing well.

Anderson said she could be in the hospital for another month or two.

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