10-Year-Old Becomes Youngest Patient to Receive 50cc Total Artificial Heart

PHOENIX, Ariz. — June 27, 2018 — Gabriel Gonzalez, 10, was just your average fourth-grader until this past April, when he collapsed at his grandmother’s house in Yuma.

Gabriel was rushed to a local hospital and then airlifted to Phoenix Children’s Hospital due to the complexity of his case. There, doctors diagnosed him with left ventricular non-compaction cardiomyopathy, which had enlarged the left side of his heart and was causing it to fail.

To save Gabriel’s life, Dr. Dan Velez, Division Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Phoenix Children’s, decided to implant the SynCardia 50cc temporary Total Artificial Heart (TAH) to bridge him to a transplant, making Gabriel the youngest patient ever to receive the 50cc TAH. The previous record-holder was 11-year-old Jaheim Whigham, who received a heart transplant at Lurie Children’s Hospital after 280 days of life with the 50cc TAH in 2017.

“It’s like taking the last shot in the NBA Finals and making it for the win,” said Dr. Velez. “It is extremely exciting because you go from a no-chance-without-anything-else situation to now you can slow down and wait for the perfect heart to come in.”

Now, the cutting-edge device is giving Gabriel a second chance at life while he awaits a much-needed heart transplant.

Get the full story at AZFamily.com.