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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UMC enters elite crowd with 800th transplant

    University Medical Center’s Cardiothoracic Transplant Program made history June 27 with its 800th heart transplant, to 6-month-old, 12-pound Edna Acedo, the youngest female recipient of a heart transplant in the Southwest.

    Drs. Raj K. Bose and Pei H. Tsau, assistant professors of cardiothoracic surgery at UA’s College of Medicine, were the lead surgeons in the operation. They are also members of the UA Sarver Heart Center, where the operation was conducted.

    The program became the eighth nationally to complete at least 800 transplants.

    “”To tell you the truth, we are always trying to get to the next level – it’s a nice place-marker, though,”” said Richard G. Smith, technical director for the UMC Marshall Foundation Artificial Heart Program.

    Acedo was born at the UMC and diagnosed with a valvular heart disease, an abnormality in one of the heart’s four valves, and rapidly developed cardiomyopathy, when the heart becomes abnormally large and stiff and struggles to supply the rest of the body with blood. The condition is also known as a congenital heart defect.

    Her aortic valve was abnormal and caused many problems. In April, 2-month-old Acedo began gasping for air and later went into cardiogenic shock. UMC’s cardiothoracic surgery team put her on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine, which delivers oxygen into the bloodstream, Smith said.

    “”(After Edna went into shock), I felt terrible because we had an awful experience with another baby of ours, and we got real scared and paranoid. … We thought we might lose her, so we started praying to God,”” said Alfredo Acedo, Edna’s father.

    About half of Edna’s blood was drained from her body and she was placed on the ECMO machine. Typically, patients are kept on an ECMO for a maximum of a week and are completely unconscious during the process, said Smith.

    Because the ECMO machine can only sustain a patient for so long, Smith filed an emergency request with the Food and Drug Administration for a Berlin Heart, a ventricular-assist device, which arrived from Germany.

    Using a bridge-to-transplant procedure, doctors held over Edna with the device until a donor heart became available.

    Acedo was the seventh person to receive a Berlin Heart at the UMC. There have been close to 90 people across the U.S. who have received the artificial organ.

    The heart aided Edna’s by pumping blood throughout her body to organs in need. It remained in place until a donor heart, from an out-of-state 3-year-old, was found.

    “”I was very nervous (about the operation),”” Alredo said. “”Well, actually I am still nervous talking about my daughter. We felt nervous, but we pray to God. Dr. Bose came over and spoke to us. He just brought us this peace, and we waited until she was out of recovery.””

    Edna is listed in critical but stable condition, according to a UMC press release.

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