Fixing Broken Hearts

Neighbors Mikayla and Wyatt were both supported by the Berlin Heart before their heart transplants at UF Health.

What are the chances that two kids who live across the street from each other would both use the Berlin Heart, a pediatric ventricular assist device, as a bridge to transplant, and then each have heart transplants at UF Health?

On his sixth day of being alive, Wyatt Thomas underwent open-heart surgery at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital to repair one of his five congenital heart defects.

As the infant’s condition continued to deteriorate, physicians with the UF Health Congenital Heart Center told Ann and her husband, Johnny, that their son’s only option was to be placed on the Berlin Heart, a ventricular assist device that keeps a child’s heart pumping while they wait for a transplant. The problem was they had never used the Berlin Heart on a child as young as Wyatt, and he was growing sicker by the day. His chances of survival seemed slim.

Scared and confused, Thomas sought support from another mom whose daughter had been on the Berlin Heart and received a transplant the year before. She didn’t have to turn far.

[Read more]