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Teen Who was Fighting for Life Becomes First Patient at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh to Receive Mechanical Heart Pump

Device kept boy’s heart pumping while he waited for transplant

It took only four days for Cory Scott to go from a seemingly healthy 15-year-old boy to the first patient at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh to receive a mechanical heart pump.

A biventricular assist device (BIVAD) was surgically implanted in Cory’s chest in mid-July after doctors learned he suffered from cardiomyopathy, which results in an enlarged heart that cannot pump blood throughout the body. Cory’s heart was failing and the device took over the pumping action of his heart as he waited for a transplant, which he received Aug. 15. Cory is now recovering from his transplant at Family House Shadyside.

“We didn’t even know Cory had a heart condition. He was the healthiest kid in the world,” said his mother, Sherry Price, of Jacksonburg, W.Va. “All of the sudden his heart stopped working. The doctors here at Children’s said this device would save his life, and it did. I’m so grateful everyone acted so quickly.”

One afternoon in mid-July, Cory complained to his mother of back and shoulder pain. His mother attributed it as the usual aches and pains of an active teen-age boy who baled hay for a summer job and lifted weights in preparation for high school football. A family doctor suspected a pulled muscle and sent Cory home. When the pain persisted, doctors thought it was pneumonia.

But within two days of his first symptoms, doctors diagnosed Cory with an enlarged heart and transported him to Children’s. On July 18, a team of Children’s physicians worked quickly to implant the assist device to keep Cory alive until a suitable heart donor could be located.

“So many things needed to go right for Cory to live. He needed the BIVAD immediately and intensive cardiac care to survive that operation,” said Frank Pigula, MD, director of pediatric cardiothoracic surgery at Children’s and the lead physician on the team that operated on Cory.
“Cory’s severe condition required a difficult operation to remove the BIVAD and the transplant had to go perfectly.”

Children’s is one of a handful of pediatric hospitals in the nation that have used a BIVAD as a bridge to transplant. “It’s the dedication and expertise of the doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and pathologists that makes outcomes like Cory’s possible,” Dr. Pigula said.

Contact:
Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-5016, marc.lukasiak@chp.edu
Melanie Finnigan, 412-692-5016, melanie.finnigan@chp.edu

Last Update
February 20, 2008
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Last Update
February 20, 2008
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