A 6-day old premature baby, Oliver Crawford, has become the youngest infant to receive a heart transplant at Phoenix Children's Hospital in Arizona, US. The hospital said, "The baby remains in hospital and his lungs remain weak but he is doing amazingly well at 6.1 pounds."
Oliver was born 7-weeks ahead of schedule with a heart defect which meant his parents did not expect him to survive. The parents were first alerted to the problem after a prenatal exam at 20 weeks showed a defect in the tiny baby's heart, called dilated cardiomyopathy. It was confirmed four weeks later. Pediatric cardiologist Dr. Christopher Lindblade said, "The left ventricle was huge for a 24-week-old. It was massive." Doctors planned for a birth at 36 weeks, but Caylyn went into labor at 33-weeks.
Caylyn, the infant's mother said, "The doctors had very little hope that he would survive the pregnancy, and when our water broke at 33 weeks, we were prepared to deliver a still born baby. But he came out fighting."
Within hours of the birth the baby Oliver was screened to see if he was healthy enough for a heart transplant. after being born on January 5, he was put on a national transplant waiting list on January 9, and two days later a viable heart became available. The heart transplant operation lasted for 10 hours, after which he had an incision from his belly to his chest.
The baby's mother said, "From our understanding Oliver is the youngest recipient in the nation. He received his transplant at 34 weeks and 3 days gestation." His father said, "It is amazing, after expecting the worst, Oliver is indeed a miracle."