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Ten Year Old Receives Heart Transplant

Ten Year Old Receives Heart Transplant

Posted - May 30, 2003 at 5:11 p.m.



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Sammy Linebaugh reporting A ten year old Utah girl received a heart transplant this morning, just weeks after doctors first discovered the girl's heart had failed.

Six weeks ago, Mikayla George and her family had no idea she was anything but a typical, perfectly healthy ten year old.

Tonight, she's in intensive care, but doctors say doing well, acclimating to a new heart.

Tracy Wardle/Mikayla's Mom: "WE HAD NO IDEA...22:47SHE PLAYED SOFTBALL FOR THREE YEARS, SHE WAS VERY ACTIVE."

When Mikayla George starting feeling sick in mid-April -- having trouble breathing, climbing stairs -- doctors at first suspected pneumonia..maybe a nasty bout of flu. But within ten days, the ten year old was failing fast. Tests revealed her heart had virtually ceased to function.

Karl Nelson, R.N., LDS Hospital Artifical Heart Program: "THE RAVAGES OF HEART FAILURE HAD REALLY SET IN ON HER ORGAN SYSTEM, HER BODY, HER MUSCLES, EVERYTHING ABOUT HER WAS TRYING TO SHUT DOWN."

Mikayla was rushed into surgery, where doctors at LDS hospital implanted tubes connecting her heart to an exterior pump called the thortac pneumatic device, or BI-VAD..

Doctors determined the new device was her only chance for survival. After more than 19 hours of surgery, Mikayla's family was bracing for the worst.

Brad Wardle Mikayla's Uncle: "THE NURSE WHEELED HER PAST OUR WHOLE FAMILY AND SAID MIKAYLA DO YOU WANT TO SAY HI TO YOUR FAMILY AND HER EYES OPENED UP AND SHE HAD SUCH LIGHT IN HER EYES AND FIGHT IN HER EYES -- AND THE LOOK SHE HAD WAS DON'T YOU GUYS GIVE UP ON ME. DON'T GIVE UP ON ME."

Mikayla's condition improved, and she was placed on the heart transplant list, .where she would stay for just a few weeks.

Last night about 9pm, the call came. A donor match had been found.

Tracy Wardle/Mom: "I WAS VERY EXCITED, BUT I THOUGHT ABOUT THE FAMILY THAT'S GONNA BE LOSING THEIR LOVED ONE...19:31..I ALSO THOUGHT ABOUT BAMBI."

Bambi Thomas is another cardiac patient who's heart failed last Christmas, while she was giving birth to daughter Ellie.

She made medical history as the first to have the bi-vad, or dual-pump implanted...and has helped Mikayla through her ordeal...as she continues to wait for a heart of her own.

Tracy Wardle/Mikayla's Mom:"LAST NIGHT BAMBI BROUGHT UP THIS TEDDY BEAR, AND IT'S GOT A PICTURE OF ELLIE ON IT."

With the bear tucked under one arm, Mikayla was again wheeled into surgery. This morning, she awoke with her new heart.

Tracy Wardle/Mikayla's Mom: "SHE LOOKS SO HEALTHY. WE'VE GOT A LONG ROAD AHEAD OF US, BUT SHE'S A FIGHTER."

How did she get a heart so fast? Her condition, and the fact that she is a child both put her high on the transplant list. Doctors say surgery went well and her prognosis is good.

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