Very impressive surgery. Hadn’t realized one could get away with less immunosuppression by transplanting just the valves and vessels.
The first baby to undergo a partial heart transplant will hopefully be spared repeated heart surgeries as the implanted tissue is growing with him – an outcome that has never been seen before in humans.
Surgeons made history in 2022 when they stitched heart valves and vessels taken from a donor infant into the heart of transplant recipient Owen Monroe when he was just 18 days old.
This technique of salvaging native heart tissue and only using the living donor tissue to replace defective parts had never been trialed in humans before.
The lead surgeon, Joseph Turek of Duke University, had previously only done the procedure in five piglets.
Now, more than a year on, baby Owen’s heart has grown from the size of a strawberry to the size of an apricot, and the donor tissue has grown with it.