100th Patient Gets a New Heart at Seattle Children’s Hospital

Ethan's heart

5-month-old received this milestone transplant at Seattle Children’s

On Saturday, April 28, a 5-month-old baby received the 100th heart transplant performed at Seattle Children’s Hospital, a significant milestone for him as well as the hospital’s Heart Center and Heart Transplant Program teams. The 5-month-old baby, Ethan Robbins, from the Puget Sound area, suffered from congenital hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition in which a thickening of heart muscle inhibits blood flow through the body. His new heart is expected to help him have a better quality of life. He is recovering from his surgery at Children’s.

The 100th heart transplant was led by Seattle Children’s surgeons Gordon Cohen, MD, PhD, chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Lester C. Permut, MD, program director of Cardiothoracic Surgery Education and Michael McMullan, MD, surgical director of the ECMO Program at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Surgeons took approximately eight hours to remove the diseased heart and replace it with the new donor heart.

”Ethan represents the 100 extremely courageous infants, children, teens and young adults to have a heart transplant at Children’s since the inception of our Heart Transplant Program in 1994,” said Yuk Law, MD, director of Cardiac Transplant and Heart Failure Services. “He also represents 100 other patients and families who have made the decision to donate their own or a loved one’s heart to save a life.”

A heart transplant is the process of removing a diseased heart and replacing it with a healthy heart from a deceased donor. This is a treatment option for children with heart defects or diseases that cause end-stage heart disease — a condition that can’t be treated by medications or any other type of surgery. The transplant process requires extensive preparation and lifelong follow-up care. Conditions that may lead to heart transplant in children include: cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, hypoplastic left heart syndrome, and other conditions leading to heart failure. Children’s continues to have one of the best pediatric heart transplant survival rates in the nation.

“Ethan is doing well in his early recovery. We are very excited with his progress,” said Dr. Law. “We are proud to have been able to help Ethan and 99 other patients with some of the most serious heart conditions get a second chance to resume a healthy and productive life with a new heart.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2,322 heart transplants were performed in the U.S. in 2011, 373 of which were in patients under the age of 18. In contrast, 3,183 people in the U.S. are currently waiting for a heart transplant, of which 279 are under 18 years of age.

Children’s offers the largest and only pediatric transplant center serving United Network of Organ Sharing’s (UNOS) Region 6, which includes Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, Alaska and Hawaii. The hospital delivers care to patients with end-stage diseases of the kidneys, heart, liver and intestine and have been transplanting organs for more than 25 years - performing almost 650 transplants. The transplant team is constantly improving surgical transplantation techniques, viral surveillance strategies and medication therapies to provide patients with the most current treatments — and the best chance for successful transplant.

Children’s is also working to improve access to organs, including hearts, for children who need these lifesaving transplants. The team at Children’s Transplant Center is active with local, regional and national transplant groups, leading nationwide advocacy efforts through UNOS and other organizations.

For more information about Seattle Children’s Heart Center and Heart Transplant Program, please visit http://www.seattlechildrens.org/clinics-programs/heart/.


Hi-resolution photos of Ethan’s heart transplant: http://www.flickr.com/photos/38997016@N03/sets/72157629951924549/

Seattle Children’s blog posts:

Broadcast quality video available upon request:

  • Interviews with Ethan’s mother and grandmother; Ethan pre-surgery; the arrival of the new heart; footage of the surgery happening with narration
  • Footage is in 1920x1080i, H.264 Codec, .mp4

About Seattle Children’s

Seattle Children’s mission is to provide hope, care and cures to help every child live the healthiest and most fulfilling life possible. Together, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Research Institute and Foundation deliver superior patient care, identify new discoveries and treatments through pediatric research, and raise funds to create better futures for patients.

Ranked as one of the top children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s serves as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical center for Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho – the largest region of any children’s hospital in the country. As one of the nation’s top five pediatric research centers, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is internationally recognized for its work in neurosciences, immunology, cancer, infectious disease, injury prevention and much more. Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation works with the Seattle Children’s Guild Association, the largest all-volunteer fundraising network for any hospital in the country, to gather community support and raise funds for uncompensated care and research. Join Seattle Children’s bold initiative – It Starts With Yes: The Campaign for Seattle Children’s – to transform children’s health for generations to come.

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