Baby finally gets heart transplant after waiting almost a year in hospital



A baby girl finally received a heart transplant after waiting in a Chicago, Illinois hospital for 218 days.

At the age of seven weeks, Elodie Carmen Baker was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, a rare heart condition, in August of last year. On 27 March, her surgery went ahead at The Heart Center at Lurie Children’s Hospital.

“Our pregnancy was normal and we had an uncomplicated delivery and actually went home with Elodie,” her mother, Kate Baker, told ABC’s Good Morning America.

“So she was with us in Minnesota at home for seven weeks and one night, she wouldn’t feed. I was nursing and she let out this cry and my heart just sank and I said to (my husband) Collin, ‘Something’s wrong. We need to take her in’,” she added.

She thought doctors maybe “were considering maybe sending us home but they said, ‘Let’s just get an X-ray to be sure’”.

Elodie Carmen Baker waited in a Chicago hospital for a heart transplant for 2018 days

(Lurie Children’s Heart Center/Facebook)

“Then the X-ray came back. They saw her heart was enlarged and that was on August 21. And we haven’t been home since,” she said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a dilated cardiomyopathy occurs when “one of the pumping chambers of the heart is enlarged. This is more common in males and is the most common form of cardiomyopathy in children. It can occur at any age and may or may not be inherited”.

The condition can lead to the heart being unable to pump enough blood through the body.

Elodie’s physician, Dr Anna Joong, told ABC “the genetic test did not reveal an answer for why she developed this kind of cardiomyopathy and in that situation, it’s called idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, meaning at this point in time, we don’t really know why this happened to her”.

Ms Baker said the muscle in Elodie’s heart was “really weak”.

She added that her daughter’s heart had “expanded over time” and that “it hasn’t been able to push the blood out, pump it out to the rest of the body and so it’s dilated, and now hers looks more like a pancake” .

Two months after the condition was revealed, Elodie went through surgery to have a Berlin EXCOR pediatric ventricular assist device (VAD) installed to temporarily act as her heart.

“Post-VAD, Elodie was able to tolerate feeds through a feeding tube to provide her with the calories she needed to grow, but also was able to try a lot of foods by mouth which she loved! Lots of avocado,” nurse practitioner Nora Hammond said.

“She has learned how to sit. She’s starting to crawl. Ella she’s starting to stand… and ella she’s done all those things on the Berlin, which is truly incredible, ”Ms Baker added.

Dr Joong said that Elodie’s breathing tube could be removed “within hours” of the heart transplant.

“Her new heart works beautifully and is really strong,” she told ABC. “She is a strong kid and we are so grateful to the donor family.”

“We’ve both been donors our whole lives. But I’ve never thought much about it. It’s just a box that I’ve checked when I renewed my driver’s license,” Ms Baker said.


www.independent.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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