Published: Nov. 2, 2011
Updated: Nov. 2, 2011
Bobby Arnold was born with complex congenital heart disease consisting of double outlet right ventricle, a small left ventricle, and transposition of the great vessels.
He underwent three operations in his first year of life to repair the defects, but as he approached his third birthday, he became progressively sicker and developed clots in his heart and peripheral arteries.
As Bobby’s heart became weaker, it became apparent that he would need a transplant, so he was transferred to the Duke Pediatric Transplant Program.
To support his failing heart until his transplant, Duke doctors implanted an investigational ventricular assist device (VAD) known as the Berlin Heart -- the only VAD small enough for a child younger than five years old.
The VAD did its job well, and Bobby received his new heart three days after his third birthday in March. His family had a party at the end of the summer to celebrate six months of good health after the transplant. There were lots of Spider-Man toys -- and one happy three-year-old.