UPDATE: Leland baby with believed to be first partial heart-transplant in world thriving

LELAND, NC (WWAY) – WWAY caught up with the parents of the Leland baby who is believed to be the first in the world to receive a partial heart transplant to see how they are doing since back from their most recent doctor’s visit.

The Monroe family took a chance on a breakthrough procedure that changed their lives and couldn’t be happier with their decision.

Five-month-old baby Owen was born with Truncus Arteriosus and a leaky heart valve, he received what is believed to be the first partial heart transplant surgery in the world at Duke University Medical Hospital.

Owen Monroe is home and doing well, the only evidence of what he’s been through since birth is the scar on his chest.

According to Owen’s dad Nick, he’s made great progress.

“Other than being a little undersized he’s just right along where he should be, we’re being followed by Child Development Services, and last time she came to do a check-up on him, she was in and out in ten minutes because he did everything he needed to do,” he said. “He rolled over, he made eye contact, he was grabbing toys, so she was like, ‘OK I’m done here, doesn’t need any extra services”.

Owen’s mom Tayler Monroe, her baby is right on track.

“His body is doing exactly what it’s supposed to do being so immunocompromised,” she said.

According to Owen’s mom, Tayler Monroe, cardiac babies tire easily, to help him conserve energy a gastrostomy tube was placed on the baby.

“We got a G-tube placed in his stomach to help with some feeding issues,” she said  “He is still taking his meds and his bottles but whatever formula he doesn’t take he’ll take through the tube.”

He’ll keep the medical device in until the tube isn’t used for more than a month.

“You wouldn’t even know that anything happened to him, let alone the fact that the scar is almost already gone,” he said.

Because only a small amount of donor tissue was used in the heart surgery, Owen will most likely be off immunosuppressant drugs when he gets older.

“Overtime those cells that recognize it (the tissue) as foreign cells will die off and be replaced with new cells,” he said.

Both Nick and Taylor are looking toward a positive future.

“These are just things in the past, and that he’s just able to be a regular boy,” she said.

According to Tayler, Owen hasn’t gotten sick and is scheduled to get his first vaccines in the next coming weeks

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