Jordan was born with multiple congenital heart defects, including congenitally corrected transposition of the great arteries (CCTGA), in which the two ventricles and their attached valves are reversed; pulmonary atresia, in which the valve that controls blood flow from the heart to the lungs doesn’t form at all; and a ventricular septal defect (VSD), a hole in the wall separating the two lower chambers (ventricles) of the heart.
As an infant, Jordan had an ascending aorta-to-main pulmonary artery shunt and an epicardial pacemaker placed. As he grew older, he underwent several surgical revisions and implantation of a defibrillator. But by his teenage years, Jordan’s heart had begun to fail, and he was placed on the waiting list for a heart transplant.
When he was 17, Jordan was admitted to Texas Children’s Hospital with heart failure symptoms and kidney insufficiency. Over the course of the following weeks, he was in and out of the cardiovascular intensive care unit. In May of that year, his condition became dire when all of his organs began to fail and he was placed on a ventilator. To save his life, doctors implanted the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart (TAH).
“Jordan was waiting for a donor heart, but both ventricles and two of his valves were failing, and we were running out of time,” said Jordan’s surgeon, Dr. David L.S. Morales. “The Total Artificial Heart, which was immediately available when this patient needed it most, could take care of all of these problems with one operation.”
Jordan’s case posed a challenge given his unusual heart structure. When the SynCardia TAH is implanted in a patient with a normally-structured heart, the right and left ventricles are crossed. To adapt to the structural defects of Jordan’s heart, Dr. Morales modified the TAH implant technique so that the right and left ventricles were implanted in parallel instead.