On Wednesday, April 5, 8-year-old Gage Bingham became the third child in his family to receive a heart transplant at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford. Gage and two of his older sisters, Sierra and Lindsey, suffered from dilated cardiomyopathy, a life-threatening form of heart failure. Sierra, now 17, received heart transplants in 2006 and 2015, and 13-year-old Lindsey had a transplant in 2013.
Gage's transplant, after a 512-day wait, was enabled in part by a ventricular assist device that helped his failing heart to pump blood. The VAD kept him fairly healthy during the wait and gave the medical team flexibility to wait for a well-matched heart.
Gage's doctors are happy with the outcome of his transplant, a blog post from the hospital explains:
'I was quite pleased with how this transplant procedure went,' said pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon Olaf Reinhartz, MD, who led the transplant team. The surgeons did not encounter any major complications or bleeding, and the donor heart is a good match for Gage, Reinhartz said.
'The new heart started up on its own and did not need to be shocked back to life,' said pediatric cardiologist Seth Hollander, MD. 'Gage did spectacularly well.'
As Gage recovers, the Bingham family is looking forward to all the things he'll be able to do once he's ready to head home to North Powder, Oregon. Swimming is definitely on the agenda, since he wasn't allowed to swim with the VAD, said Gage's dad, Jason. And they'll really enjoy seeing him feel better, added mom Stacy:
'As good as Gage was on the VAD, I don’t think he realized how much a sick heart affected the way he felt all the time,' Stacy said. 'I can’t wait to see how he feels with a healthy heart.'
Gage's transplant occurred during Donate Life month, a period when national efforts are underway to encourage people to register as organ donors. Nearly 2,000 children across the country are now waiting for organ transplants.
Previously: Internal pump helps young patient wait for a heart transplant out of the hospital, NBC Dateline to explore the "extraordinary situation" facing one Packard Children's transplant family and Stem cell medicine for hearts? Yes, please, says one amazing family
Photo of Gage with (left to right) sisters Sierra and Lindsey, dad Jason, mom Stacy, sister Megan and brother Hunter courtesy of Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford