A 7-year-old girl received a new heart Monday, more than eight months after she and her older sister were put on the transplant list because of the same rare ailment.
Their mother said Shayde Smith is relieved now that her sister Emily has received a transplant. "She's still nervous about it, but she said that now that Emily's made it through, she knows she will," Natalie Van Noy said.
The girls have restrictive cardiomyopathy, which means the heart doesn't relax between pumps and doesn't fill properly with blood. The condition can cause blood clots or death.
Emily was a higher priority for transplant than 9-year-old Shayde because she had more symptoms, including wheezing spells and her lips, toes and fingertips turning blue when she got cold.
Van Noy said Emily's hands and feet are now warm. "She looks awesome," her mother said.
The girls' condition is rare, with less than one-in-a-million children diagnosed, said Dr. Kristine Guleserian, the pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon who led the team operating on Emily at Children's Medical Center Dallas. Without a transplant, the chance of survival is 40 to 50 percent one to two years after diagnosis.
Restrictive cardiomyopathy doesn't have a known cause. It seems to run in families, but the condition hasn't yet been proven to be genetic.
While it isn't rare for siblings to need transplants, it is rare that they would need them at the same time, said Pam Silvestri, a spokeswoman for Southwest Transplant Alliance, one of the organ donation agencies across the country that provides organs to transplant hospitals.
The girls are from the Boyd area, about 30 miles northwest of Fort Worth.
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius reiterated Tuesday that she won’t intervene in the “incredibly agonizing” case involving a 10-year-old Pennsylvania girl who is waiting for a lung transplant, telling members of Congress that medical experts should make those decisions.
One of the first provisions of the 2010 health reform law has had its intended effect: shifting costs from hospitals, taxpayers and families to health insurance companies, researchers reported on Thursday. It’s one of the most popular aspects of the law.
People may realize that fast food isn’t health food, but they don’t realize just how fattening it really is, researchers report. They surveyed people eating at 10 burger, chicken, sandwich and doughnut chains and found they greatly underestimated just how much they were chowing down.
A new line of caffeinated chewing gum is causing jitters among health advocates and prompting federal officials to take a new look at the proliferation of jolt-infused foods, including those marketed to children and teens.