Baby suffers heart attack at birth, thrives after heart transplant surgery
A 10-week-old boy alive and well after undergoing heart transplant surgery at the Stollery Children's Hospital. Kaleb Busch suffered a massive heart attack at birth that caused the left side of his heart to fail.
Two months ago, Kaleb was delivered by emergency C-section at Lloydminster Hospital after his mother noticed he had stopped moving. When hospital staff discovered the baby had experienced heart failure, he was flown to the Stollery.
"There was no blood at all going through -- similar to a heart attack in an adult," said Dr. Simon Urschel, a pediatric cardiologist.
Doctors say Kaleb was born with congenital myocardial infarction, a rare heart condition with only one previously documented case in Canada.
A team of doctors performed interventions to keep Kaleb alive, but none were long-term solutions. They discovered he would not survive without a heart transplant.
"We didn't really see any significant recovery in his heart function, which is why we had to transition him to a different kind of support and list him for transplantation," said Dr. Jennifer Rutledge.
Kaleb's parents, Terry-Lynn Plummer and Owen Busch, were warned that the chances of finding a heart in time were slim. His parents were also cautioned that even if a heart did become available, the surgery would be risky.
Ten days after Kaleb's birth, the family received word that a heart was available.
"That last hour that we sat with him before they took him away was probably the most humbling moment of my life because you just never knew if you were going to see him again," said Terry-Lynn.
Doctors say the heart did not match the baby's blood type, but Kaleb was still able to undergo a heart transplant.
The transplant, called an ABO-incompatible transplant, can only be performed on very young children, whose immune systems haven't yet developed the capability to reject other blood types.
It's been more than 20 days since Kaleb was discharged from the hospital. Kaleb's parents say they are overjoyed his little body has accepted his new heart, and are grateful for organ donation.
"If it wasn't for this family out there that thought enough to sign their child up for organ donation we would not have him," said Terry-Lynn.
With files from Sonia Sunger