A team at Duke Health has performed what is believed to be the world’s first partial heart transplant, with the living arteries and valves from a freshly donated heart fused onto a patient’s existing heart.
The goal is to allow the valves to grow with the pediatric patient over time, increasing life expectancy.
“This procedure potentially solves the problem of a growing valve,” said Joseph W. Turek, M.D., Ph.D., Duke’s chief of pediatric cardiac surgery, who led the landmark surgery.
The surgery was performed on a 5-pound newborn.
“What’s particularly remarkable about this procedure, is that not only is this innovation something that can extend the lives of children, but it makes use of a donated heart that would otherwise not be transplantable,” said Michael Carboni, M.D., an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Duke University School of Medicine.