When Eloise (Ellie) McCloskey turned 11, she got the best birthday present she and her family could have asked for: a phone call from Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, telling her a donor heart — which Ellie desperately needed — had been identified for her.
Ellie was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy at the age of 7, and by age 10, a new heart was in order. But thanks to three innovations that shortened Ellie’s time on the transplant wait list, as well as an established partnership between Stanford Children’s and her local Oregon hospital, Ellie was able to get her new heart fast. Within days of her 11th birthday, she had flown to Palo Alto and undergone a successful surgery.
Stanford Medicine Children’s Health used three tactics to speed up Ellie’s transplant: 1) Rather than a traditionally healthy heart, they found Ellie a heart infected with hepatitis C, which is fully treatable and therefore becoming increasingly common among cardiac transplants, 2) Through their 3D cardiac imaging center, they were able to analyze the size of Ellie’s donor heart and confirm that it was the right size for her body, and 3) They used a technology that increases the window of time that a heart can be outside the body and remain viable for a transplant, informally called Heart in a Box.
Read more about Ellie’s transplant experience at Stanford Medicine Children’s Hospital on Stanford’s Healthier, Happy Lives blog.