5-month-old recovering after heart transplant
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — A just 5-months-old, little Kylee Faith is the youngest transplant patient at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital.
Her parents marvel at how calm and content she is -- and how well she is doing just five weeks after a heart transplant.
When her mother Trace Jones was 16 weeks pregnant, an ultrasound detected major heart defects.
"Her heart was flipped. It was on the right side of her body and it was a mirror image," Jones said.
"She had third degree heart block which meant the top of her heart and the bottom didn't fire at the same times."
As a result, Kylee got a pacemaker when she was just three days old. She did well for three months, but then suddenly became very ill.
Her parents drove her to the emergency room, but Kylee was unresponsive upon arrival.
"When I picked her out of the baby seat, I realized her body was limp. It was a very scary feeling," said John Jones.
Doctors resuscitated Kylee, who spent the next seven weeks in the pediatric intensive care unit waiting for a donor heart.
She "required maximal medical support in order to sustain her until the time of transplant, " explained Dr. Maryanne Chrisant, director of pediatric cardiac transplant.
The donor heart arrived and the transplant surgery was performed on August 31st.
Making the surgery even more remarkable is that the pediatric heart transplant program at Joe DiMaggio is new: the first case was last December, and Kylee's was just the third.
She is also the youngest child to go through the program.
An ultrasound of Kylee's own malfunctioning heart showed it was contracting very poorly and the rhythm was abnormal.
A recent ultrasound done after the transplant is a different story.
"It's pumping beautifully, it's ejecting blood perfectly, it's really doing great," said Dr. Chrisant, monitoring Kylee's progress.
Now, Trace and John Jones feel forever indebted to the donor family.
"It was sort of a mixed feeling in the sense that you feel guilty for another family that lost their child in order to give our child life," said John.
"We would love to meet them and just thank them," added a grateful Trace.
The Jones says this experience has been life changing in many ways -- and now, all their family members have registered to be organ donors.