Three Days, Three Hearts

Three Days, Three Hearts

In an extremely rare three-day series of transplants in May, three young adults received new hearts at the Children’s Heart Center at Packard Children’s, including an extraordinarily uncommon double-organ heart and liver transplant.

“It was remarkable,” said David Rosenthal, MD, director of the pediatric heart failure program. “We normally perform around 15 heart transplants a year, and now we’ve done three in three days.”

Three days, three hearts

Beginning on Thursday, May 3, 20-year-old Amanda Sechrest received a new heart and liver. The next day, as Amanda was beginning her recovery, 17-year-old William Wylie-Modro was down the hall being prepped for surgery. By Saturday morning, he too had a new heart. Completing the three-day chain was 18-year-old James Spencer, who received his life-saving heart on Saturday, May 5.

“On a difficulty scale of one to 10, all three surgeries were in the eight to 10 range,” said cardiothoracic surgeon Olaf Reinhartz, MD, who calmly led all three operations, with liver transplant pioneer Carlos Esquivel, MD, PhD, leading the transplant of Amanda’s liver.

The hospital’s Children’s Heart Center is ranked #5 in the nation, and Packard Children’s is the only Bay Area hospital to transplant pediatric hearts. Having performed close to 300 heart transplants, “We’ve built an extraordinary multidisciplinary team with the breadth and depth to handle this kind of challenge before, during, and after surgery,” said pediatric cardiologist Daniel Bernstein, MD.


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