St. Louis baby becomes youngest heart-lung transplant recipient in decade

Surgeons at St. Louis Children''s Hospital performed a heart-lung transplant on 8-month-old Jack Palmer May 23, making him one of the youngest people to undergo the double transplant, according to The Kansas City Star.

Jack was born Jan. 16 with an underdeveloped heart and damaged lungs. Physicians said they did not expect him  to live for more than a few days. After Jack survived for two months, St. Louis Children's surgeons agreed to attempt the double transplant.

Only 19 infants total under age 1 have undergone the procedure in the U.S. Pirooz Eghtesady, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon at St. Louis Children's Hospital, lead Jack's double transplant, which lasted 11 hours.

Dr. Eghtesady performed heart-lung transplants before, but never on a patient as young as Jack. Jack also needed a reconstruction of the aorta, which Dr. Eghtesady had done before, but not on top of a heart-lung transplant.

"I knew it was a high-risk operation, but at the same time the flip side of it was pretty obvious too," Dr. Eghtesady told The Kansas City Star. "Meaning that if we didn't operate on him, if we didn't do something, he wasn't going to live."

The surgery was a success, and Jack was discharged in late August. He is now the youngest person in the U.S. to undergo a successful heart-lung transplant in the last decade.

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