Little Tiarna Gray is just 12 days old, making her the youngest person on the country’s transplant list. But doctors say tiny hearts are hard to come by and they don’t know when an organ small enough for the infant will be available.
BY VICTORIA TAYLOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Tuesday, June 3, 2014, 3:27 PM
A tiny newborn in the U.K. is being kept alive by a machine as doctors wait for an organ small enough to perform a lifesaving heart transplant.
Twelve-day-old Tiarna Gray was born with hypoplastic right heart syndrome (HRHS), a rare heart defect. Her coronary arteries did not develop completely, meaning blood cannot flow to her lungs.
She is hooked up to a device that transports oxygen to the blood and then pumps it around the body, according to the Mirror.
Doctors at Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, England, discovered that Tiarna would need a transplant soon after she was born on May 22.
Guidelines in the UK prevent infants under two months of age from being declared brain dead and becoming organ donors, meaning it will be difficult to find a heart for Tiarna.
“We’ve heard from doctors sometimes they could get two hearts at the same time or she might not get one at all and she might not make it that long,” mom Sharney Gray, 22, told the Mirror. “Most babies run out of time before they get a heart,”
IAIN BUIST/NEWCASTLE CHRONICLE
Tiarna’s family, mom Sharney Gray, brother Jaime and dad Gary Middleton, can only hope that the little girl will get a new heart before it is too late.
Gray said they were told that Tiarna’s body could accept the heart of a baby up to three months old, but it will depend on the weight and size. Little Tiarna weighed 5 pounds, 8 ounces at birth.
“We’ve just got to hope, that’s all we can do,” Tiarna’s father, 25-year-old Gary Middleton, said.
Dr. Richard Kirk of the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle said that Tiarna is currently the youngest baby baby on the country’s transplant list.
“We can never say ‘when’ a heart might become available and it’s very unusual for little hearts to become available to be used. All of our thoughts and prayers are with the family,” he said.