First heart transplant for Dell Children’s gives 18-year-old patient a second chance at life


AUSTIN (KXAN) — A team of pediatric heart transplant surgeons at Dell Children’s Medical Center reached a milestone.

The team successfully implanted a donor heart into an 18-year-old patient with end-stage heart failure, according to Ascension Texas on Monday.

The hospital said the 18-year-old also suffered from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which is when the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick and makes it harder for the heart to pump blood. He also had Ebstein’s anomaly, a rare congenital heart defect that affects the tricuspid valve on the right side of the heart, according to Ascension Texas.

The patient was admitted to Dell Children’s in August, a few weeks after the medical center announced its new Transplant Program.

The heart transplant team is led by pediatric heart surgeons Dr. Charles Fraser and Dr. Ziv Beckerman and surgical director Dr. Carlos Mery.

The patient is being currently cared for by Dr. Chesney Castleberry, medical director of the Pediatric Heart Failure and Transplant Program, and is expected to be sent home in the coming weeks.

Castleberry said they’re already prepped to take on more procedures.

“We have a big team here ready to do another one tomorrow, if we had to. We have another two children who are actively waiting on our list, and we’ve been getting lots of inquiries from kids both in the Central Texas area as well as beyond, because we have really great surgical expertise and really, a strong team here at Dell Children’s,” she said. “That’s something to be very, very proud of for Austin.”

The procedure was all made possible by a partnership between Dell Children’s, the Texas Center for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease and UT Health Austin. UT Health Austin is the clinical practice of the Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin, according to Ascension Texas.

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