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First Heart Transplant Performed at Dell Children’s

In a historic first for Dell Children’s Medical Center and the University of Texas at Austin, a team of pediatric heart transplant surgeons successfully implanted a donor heart in an 18-year-old patient. The Texas Center for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease, in partnership with UT Health Austin, the clinical practice of Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin, is proud to announce the first solid organ transplant of any kind at Dell Children’s was performed on Oct. 3, 2020.

“This is a new era at Dell Children’s. Heart transplant is the first of many solid organ transplant procedures Dell Children’s will offer in the future as we continue to build a world-class program that expands the breadth and depth of our expertise to meet the needs of all pediatric patients in Central Texas and beyond. Giving the gift of organ or tissue is such a transformational gift, and this life-saving surgery would not have been possible without the generous and courageous family who chose to donate life.” -Dr. Charles Fraser, chief of Pediatric and Congenital Surgery for UT Health Austin’s Texas Center for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease at Dell Children’s

Heart transplantation was a lifesaving option for the patient who was in end-stage heart failure and suffered from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a disease in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick. The thickened heart muscle can make it harder for the heart to pump blood. He also suffered from Ebstein’s anomaly, a rare congenital heart defect affecting the tricuspid valve on the right side of the heart. He was admitted to Dell Children’s in August, just weeks after Dell Children’s announced the new Heart Failure, VAD (Ventricular Assist Device) and Transplant Program.

Dell Children’s heart transplant team is led by pediatric heart surgeon Dr. Charles Fraser, Dr. Carlos Mery, surgical director of the Heart Transplant Program, and Dr. Ziv Beckerman, pediatric heart surgeon. Dr. Chesney Castleberry, medical director of the Pediatric Heart Failure and Transplant Program, is the pediatric heart muscle disease specialist caring for the heart transplant recipient. The patient is recovering at Dell Children’s and is expected to be discharged in the coming weeks.

In 2018, the Texas Center for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease at Dell Children’s was established and is led by one of the world’s leading pediatric heart surgeons, Dr. Charles Fraser, Jr. This program includes the integration of clinical academics and research-driven initiatives through the exclusive partnership with Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin and UT Health Austin. As the only Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center in Central Texas, the capability of the Heart Transplant Program is enriched by Dell Children’s depth and breadth of expertise in numerous subspecialties. In July, Dell Children’s announced it had launched a Pediatric Heart Transplant Program.  Dell Children’s first left ventricular assist device (LVAD) procedure was performed in September 2019.

Learn more from the Austin American Statesman: