Piggyback Heart Transplant

By Deane Barker on July 14, 2009

Girl’s heart heals itself 10 years after transplant: There are two things in this story that are fairly amazing.

  1. Doctors can apparently do a heart transplant without removing the original heart.  So, you have two hearts – the new one, doing the work, and the old one, just hangin’ out.
  2. In this girl’s case, the new heart rejected 11 years later.  But, by that time, her original heart was strong enough to come back “online,” so they pulled the new one out and hooked her back up to the original one.

Nearly 11 years after receiving the extra heart, there was more bad news: The immuno-suppression drugs were no longer working. Hannah’s body was rejecting the donor heart. In February 2006, her doctors tried something that had never been done before: They took out the donor heart. Doctors theorized that the donor heart had allowed Hannah’s heart to rest, recover and grow back stronger.

[…] The doctors were right. Three years later, Hannah has no need for any drugs and has been given a clean bill of health. The operation was a success.



  1. Amazing stuff. I read the article, then the medical journal article, which just made me more confused than when I started. Does the blood go from one then through the other or are there multiple connections to the aorta, pulmonary arteries, inferior vena cava, etc..? The two hearts don’t beat at the same time. That must make for a pretty funky pulse. Bet you could have some fun with the school nurse if she wasn’t in the know.

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