A teenage girl who lived four months without a heart is now out of the hospital.
Her surgeons recently talked about the device that kept her alive -- one that had never before been used in a child.
While waiting for a transplant, Dzhana Simmons lived without a human heart for 118 days. An unprecedented case because she's only 14.
Dzhana was hooked up to a so-called Miami artificial heart, custom made by the transplant team at UM / Jackson.
She describes it as a scary experience.
Dzhana confessed, "It was like I was a fake person, like I didn't really exist, I was just here. But now, I know I really was here and I did live without it."
So did Louis Quarterman.
In 2006, he was a man without a heart for 48 days, but doctors say Dzhana's age makes her unique.
Dr. Marco Ricci , Pediatric Cardiac Surgeon said, "This is we believe, is the first pediatric patient who has received such a device in this configuration without the heart, and possibly one of the youngest that has received, essentially, that has been bridged to transplantation without her native heart."
Dzhama and her mother came to Holtz Children's Hospital in May from South Carolina. Her heart was too large and too weak. A transplant was performed in July but the donors heart failed.
"So we decided to remove her heart and implant two artificial pumps in order to bridge her over to a second heart transplant,” said Dr. Marco Ricci.
Dzhana said it was nerve-racking knowing that she was solely depending on a device to keep her blood circulating.
"You never knew when it would malfunction and you had to listen to loud noises, because they made loud noises."
The second transplant seems to be working well.
"Thanks to my buddies, the transplant team, I love them for everything they've done for her. I couldn't even be happier to see her sitting here being able to walk and talk and doing different things with different people."
During a press conference Dzama was overcome with emotion thanking her surgeons.