Infant Goes Home After 'Miraculous' Recovery from Heart Defects
Oct. 19, 1990
LOMA LINDA, Calif. (AP) _ A nearly 3-month-old baby was released from the hospital after recovering from serious heart defects that once made him a transplant candidate.
Weston Kilpatrick left Loma Linda University Medical Center in good condition Wednesday, but still faces the prospect of future surgery to repair remaining defects, hospital spokesman Dick Schaefer said.
''We're very excited and cautiously optimistic as we take Weston home,'' said his father, Layne Kilpatrick, a 31-year-old pharmacist. ''He's doing well. Although the future is uncertain for Weston, he has amazed us.''
''Everyone's really excited that Weston can get home in this sort of shape without a transplant,'' said Dr. Steven Gundry, who performed surgery to repair some of the defects that didn't heal.
Weston was born July 27. He suffered several congenital cardiac defects, including underdevelopment of the left side of his heart, underdeveloped heart valves, an open duct between two arteries and a narrowed aorta, which is the main artery carrying blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
Layne and Janet Kilpatrick and their 4-year-old daughter, Danielle, moved from the central California community of Lompoc to Redlands in order to be near their son while he waited for a donor heart.
Gundry repaired the duct and artery problem Oct. 7 after the usually fatal underdevelopment of the heart's left pumping chamber got better on its own. The valves also showed some improvement. That recovery, which doctors called virtually miraculous, eliminated the need for a heart transplant to save Weston's life.
''Weston has continued to improve,'' Gundry said Wednesday. ''He still has problems with one of the valves in his heart and a few small holes in his heart. But right now he's really amazed all of us.''
Schaefer said the holes allow a small amount of blood to flow between chambers of the heart in an unwanted manner and may require corrective surgery later.
Loma Linda has become a leading center for newborn human heart transplants since 1984, when Dr. Leonard Bailey implanted a baboon's heart in the infant known as Baby Fae in an attempt to save her life. She suffered a more severe underdevelopment of the left side of her heart.