Duke surgeons perform world's 1st partial heart transplant

Cardiologists at Durham, N.C.-based Duke Health performed what is believed to be the world’s first partial heart transplant by fusing the arteries and valves from a freshly donated heart onto an existing heart, the system said in an email to Becker's Sept. 8.

The procedure was performed on a newborn with truncus arteriosus — a condition in which the two main heart arteries are fused together. Joseph Turek, MD, PhD, Duke’s chief of pediatric cardiac surgery, led the surgery team.

"What’s particularly remarkable about this procedure, is that not only is this innovation something that can extend the lives of children, but it makes use of a donated heart that would otherwise not be transplantable," said Michael Carboni, MD, an associate professor in the department of pediatrics at Duke University School of Medicine. 

Cardiologists at the health system are "hopeful" that a similar approach could be used to treat common valve replacements in pediatric patients.

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