A newborn with a heart defect received another baby’s heart in a rare infant-to-infant transplant performed by the doctor who 13 months ago attempted a radical baboon heart graft on the infant known as Baby Fae.
“A newborn baby born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome underwent a human-to-human heart transplant,” Dick Schaefer, a spokesman at Loma Linda University Medical Center, said early today.
Dr. Leonard Bailey, who transplanted a baboon heart into Baby Fae on Oct. 26, 1984, performed the infant-to-infant surgery Wednesday night, Schaefer said. He said the infant was alive, but he refused to elaborate.
Because the parents requested confidentiality, no information on the infant’s condition would be released, he said. Information on the donor heart was also unavailable, he said.
Infant-to-infant heart transplants are rare, he said. One was performed last year in London, and another was performed 18 years ago in New York.
The more recent recipient was Hollie Roffey, who was 10 days old when she received the heart of a 3-day-old Dutch baby in London on June 30, 1984. Hollie survived 18 days.
Before that, the youngest previous heart transplant patient was a 2 1/2-week-old baby who died 6 1/2 hours after the 1967 surgery in New York City.
Baby Fae was 12 days old when Bailey performed the controversial transplant that made the baby the first infant ever to receive a heart taken from another species.
She lived 20 days with the baboon heart, dying Nov. 15, 1984.
Baby Fae’s historic transplant triggered controversy among doctors and ethics experts after it was revealed Bailey never asked organ procurement agencies to seek a human heart donor for the baby girl. Bailey vowed he would seek a human heart donor first before implanting another baboon heart in a baby.