200 days waiting for heart transplant of a girl with rare disease

AmericaAn 11-month-old child at risk of dying from dilated heart disease has just undergone a rare heart transplant surgery after 200 days of waiting.

Doctors missed the early signs when Elodie Baker, who lives in Chigaco, was brought in for a check-up by her mother.

“The pregnancy went smoothly, the delivery was uncomplicated and we brought Elodie home,” said Katie, the baby’s mother.

However, soon both she and her husband realized that something was wrong with their daughter. Elodie has difficulty suckling, begins to cry when being nursed by her mother.

“One night, she wouldn’t eat. While I was nursing, she burst into tears and my heart sank. I said to my husband, ‘Something’s wrong, we need to take her to the hospital'” , Katie recounted.

Initially, the doctors could not diagnose what their daughter had, and her symptoms were unremarkable. They then recommended an X-ray, deciding the turning point that saved her life.

Films showed that Elodie’s heart was abnormally large. I was admitted to the hospital for monitoring and treatment. Dilated heart disease occurs when the left ventricle, the enlarged chamber of a person’s heart, has trouble pumping blood. It often leaves no obvious symptoms, difficult for doctors to detect with conventional diagnostic tests.

“In Elodie’s case, genetic tests didn’t show why she developed this type of myocarditis. It’s called idiopathic dilated heart disease. We really don’t know why she got it.” Dr. Anna Joong, Elodie’s main treatment at Lurie Children’s Hospital, said.

Elodie Baker and her parents after a heart transplant. Photo: Daily Mail

The doctor quickly identified the girl need a heart transplant. This can be a challenge for young children, as adult organs are too large to donate.

In the meantime, doctors implanted a pediatric ventricular assist device (VAD) into Elodie’s chest, which acts like an artificial heart. She also uses an esophageal tube and breathing tube.

A month ago, on March 27, she finally received a donor heart after 200 days of waiting. The donor is a newborn baby with a rare disease who has passed away. The surgery was a success, Elodie was extubated and received physical and speech therapy to help keep pace with the development of her peers.

“The baby was transferred from the intensive care unit and can sit upright. She is very strong and we are also very grateful to the family who donated her heart,” said Dr. Joong.

Dilated heart disease causes about 10,000 deaths in the US each year, possibly due to genetics. Some people who are obese, have diabetes, have high blood pressure, or have heart rhythm problems are at increased risk for dilated heart disease. To avoid this situation, doctors recommend eating healthy, avoiding smoking.

Thuc Linh (According to Daily Mail)


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