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Stanford University School of Medicine

Internal pump helps young patient wait for a heart transplant out of the hospital

gage-bingham-stanford-childrensOver at Healthier, Happy Lives, the blog of Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford, there's a touching story about a boy who is waiting for a new heart. Eight-year-old Gage Bingham is the third sibling in his family of five kids to require a heart transplant. To keep him healthy while he waits for a matching donor heart, he has an internal pump that is supporting his own heart. This means that unlike his older sisters, who had to stay in the hospital until they were transplanted, Gage can live at home and attend school. The story explains:

Gage is awaiting transplant, but you'd never know it to see him running around the playground at school. In November 2015, surgeons at [the hospital] placed an internal pump called the HeartWare ventricular assist device, or HVAD, in Gage's small chest. In fact, Gage is one of the smallest children to be fitted with the HVAD, which is normally used for adults.

One of Gage's sisters, Lindsey, now 12, survived a remarkable 230 days until transplant with an external heart pump called the Berlin Heart, which required her to be in the hospital until a donor heart became available. But Gage was discharged from the hospital over a year ago to the care of his parents, both of whom were trained and certified to use the HVAD before leaving the hospital. Gage's mother, Stacy, is also a registered nurse.

Since Gage is smaller than most HVAD recipients, the hospital's team has helped customize the equipment he uses just for him. They've even made him a backpack to carry the pump's batteries more easily.

Previously: NBC Dateline to explore the "extraordinary situation" facing one Packard Children's transplant family, Stem cell medicine for hearts? Yes, please, says one amazing family and Packard Children's heart transplant family featured tonight on Dateline
Photo courtesy of Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford

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