Artificial Heart Gives Baby Chance for Transplant

Device approved for pediatric use in December

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A 12-week-old baby is the first child at Children's Medical Center of Dallas to receive a Berlin heart.

    A 3-month-old baby received an artificial heart last week in a dangerous but essential surgery.

    Daniela Soto was diagnosed with a potentially fatal heart condition shortly after she born on Nov. 22. Doctors at Children's Medical Center of Dallas decided a Berlin heart would be the only way she might survive long enough to get a transplant.

    "She's our smallest and our youngest baby who we've ever supported with a Berlin heart and with that as the only option, having FDA approval has made it really nice," said Dr. Kristine Guleserian, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Children's Medical Center.

    Dallas Baby Receives Artificial Heart

    [DFW] Dallas Baby Receives Artificial Heart
    A 12-week-old baby is the first child at Children's Medical Center of Dallas to receive a Berlin heart.

    She is the first child at the hospital to receive a Berlin heart since the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Berlin hearts in children in December. Before the approval, getting permission to use a Berlin heart might have taken critical days or even weeks.

    The procedure is a marathon surgery -- 10 intense hours installing a pump on a heart the size of a walnut.

    Eight days after the surgery, her doctors are pleased.

    "It's the waiting game," Guleserian said. "Right now, she's on the heart transplant waiting list. We're hoping that that happens sometime soon."

    Doctors knew Daniela was sick months before her birth. Her mother, Maria Soto, said she heard doctors arguing as soon as her baby was born. The doctors said Daniela needed to be taken to Cook Children's Medical Center.

    Doctors did their best to regulate her heart condition.

    "I was able to hold her for two weeks, I think," Soto said.

    "She was doing OK, but she was never stable on her heart rate and rhythm," she said.

    Soto said she knows that in order for her child to live, another will die. Instead of thinking that, she is focusing on her hopes for the future, she said.

    She said her greatest hope for her daughter is to "be out of this hospital with us, to have a life and not be in here."

    Soto said it will be a dream come true to finally take her home and to see her little girl be able to go outside.