An infant who is just 7 months old benefited from a miracle heart transplant, shortly after having his second cardiac arrest.
Lincoln Seay was born in Anchorage, Alaska, and although he appeared to be a normal baby, he was actually suffering from an extremely uncommon birth defect, known as heterotaxy syndrome (also called isomerism).
This condition stems from the fact that the body tries to become more symmetrical than it should be (with 2 left sides or 2 right sides), which causes the heart and other vital organs to form and develop in unusual places.
This is exactly what happened in Lincoln’s case: his heart and other organs were incorrectly arranged, in the right side of the body, and there were also several other congenital defects affecting his cardiac health.
The infant had been subjected to numerous surgical procedures, meant to counter the effects of his dextrocardia and assist his heart in expanding and contracting, in order to transport blood rich in nutrients and oxygen across the body, and allow vital organs to function correctly.
However, his state had continued to deteriorate, which prompted his parents, Rob and Mindy Seay, to leave Anchorage and move with their baby to Seattle, in the hope that there he would have better chances of pulling through after all.
Shortly after relocating and having their offspring admitted to Seattle Children’s hospital, the couple experienced one of the worst moments of their lives, when their baby went into cardiac arrest.
Luckily, medical practitioners managed to successfully perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the infant, and his condition was listed as stable once again.
Still, his parents were warned by Dr. Michael McMullen, Lincoln’s transplant surgeon, that in the absence of a miracle heart transplant, received as soon as possible, the baby’s chances of survival were extremely grim.
The infant had previously been placed on the National Waiting List administered by the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN), but now the family understood even more Lincoln’s life was hanging by a thread.
A nerve-racking period began, as Rob and Mindy prayed for a donor to be found, and helplessly watched their infant growing weaker and weaker, with his skin coloration turning a deadly shade of purple.
Eventually, after 89 days spent waiting for a life-saving heart transplant, and 4 days following the cardiac arrest, the Seay family received the eagerly anticipated news that the miracle heart transplant they had been wishing for would finally happen.
Unfortunately, the danger hadn’t yet passed: just as the baby was being readied for the surgical procedure, he suffered yet another cardiopulmonary arrest.
Doctors immediately used a heart-lung bypass machine, connecting it to Lincoln’s heart so that blood would still be carried throughout the body.
Setting up the device would’ve normally required around 2 hours, but the team in charge with the operation managed to complete all the steps in just 12 minutes. The young patient’s condition soon improved, as resuscitation efforts proved successful.
Afterwards, the heart transplant continued in the absence of any significant complications, the baby receiving his life-saving organ as planned.
Lincoln appears healthier than ever now: his face is no longer purple, having turned a much healthier shade of pink, and his renewed energy levels have caused his parents to humorously compare him with the Hulk.
Whereas before the infant would have to nap every 30 minutes, as his heart muscles had become incredibly weak, affecting his overall stamina and alertness, now Lincoln is much more vivacious, being awake for hours without showing any signs of tiredness.
He is also extremely curious about his surroundings, extending his tiny hands to grab his dad’s beard or touch his mother’s cheeks.
Lincoln hasn’t yet been discharged from hospital and will more than likely have to be administered immunosuppressive medication meant to stop his body from rejecting his new heart for as long as he lives.
Despite this downside, doctors are confident that in just a few months the tiny patient will be healthy and well enough in order to be brought back home, and start a new life alongside his parents, following his miracle heart transplant.
Now, the elated family is trying to further publicize the happy ending of their story, so as to generate more awareness about the importance of organ donation.
Image Source: You Caring