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Fox 4: Children's Mercy performs Kansas City's first dual pediatric heart, liver transplant

Dual heart, liver transplant

By Shannon Rousseau

An incredible display of teamwork at Children’s Mercy Hospital.

An 18-year-old is Kansas City’s first pediatric patient to undergo a dual heart and liver transplant.

The operation happened in October 2022, when the patient was 17 years old. He was born with a rare genetic condition that caused him to go into cardiac failure. The teen had an LVAD device (which helps pump blood to the heart) implanted two to three months before the historic operation.

“It was a labor of love. There was a lot too it, but it paid off,” said Dr. Aliessa Barnes of the 14-hour operation.

She’s a heart transplant physician and the co-director of the Solid Organ Transplant Center. She, along with more than 30 others, worked to place the teenager’s new heart and liver.

Dual heart, liver transplant

Only a handful of U.S. hospitals perform this type of procedure, according to Dr. Bhargava Mullapudi, a pediatric transplant surgeon with Children’s Mercy.

“There are very few institutions in the country such as Stanford, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and now Children’s Mercy that are doing ‘en bloc,’ which means the heart and liver are connected, and both the organs are put in at the same time,” Mullapudi said.


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Brendan Tripp Elam Transplant Center at Children's Mercy

The Ward Family Heart Center at Children's Mercy

The Pediatric Liver Transplant Program at Children's Mercy