At just 17 days old, Owen Monroe became the world’s first partial heart transplant recipient. The revolutionary surgery was performed in April 2022 by Duke pediatric heart surgeons at Duke University Hospital. Today, baby Owen is proof that this new approach can save lives.
“At the beginning, it was, ‘how do we save our son?’ Owen’s mom Tayler said. “But our hope then turned into, ‘I hope this can help other children. It’s amazing what this could potentially do for the world and the medical community.”
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After undergoing heart surgery, four-month-old Izabel Westmoreland-Liao struggled to eat, even with a supplemental feeding tube. Nothing her parents tried worked. After weeks of sleepless nights, Izabel’s mother, Kate Westmoreland, called Duke’s Pediatric Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Clinic (PCNC) -- a specialized follow-up program for children with congenital heart disease. Experts assessed Izabel and created a customized plan to get her back on track. Now Izabel is gaining weight, sleeping better at night, and meeting developmental milestones ahead of schedule. “They truly cared for Izabel and wanted her to thrive,” Westmoreland said. “She’s our happy baby again!”