An infant diagnosed with a usually fatal heart defect healed by himself, amazing doctors who thought a transplant was the only way to save his life.
The parents of 9-week-old Weston Wells Kilpatrick will be able to bring him home this week, officials at Loma Linda University Medical Center said.Dr. Steven Gundry, a pioneer in infant heart transplant surgery, said it is unlikely the child will ever need a transplant.
"It's the first time we've seen it," Gundry said Saturday, adding that he believed the healed birth defect was unprecedented in medical history.
Weston, who was born July 27, was brought to Loma Linda University Medical Center when he was 4 days old, after doctors concluded he had hypoplastic left heart syndrome.
The boy's damaged heart grew stronger as he waited for a heart transplant donor, Gundry said.
"Theoretically, we knew the left ventricle might be able to grow, because we know the right ventricle can grow if you keep the blood flowing, but to our knowledge it has never been reported for the left ventricle," the doctor said.
Parents Layne and Janet Kilpatrick, both 31, had moved from Lompoc to Redlands to be near the medical center known for advances in child heart transplants.
Doctors determined Weston's heart had three abnormalities that would normally have killed a baby within two weeks if left untreated, Gundry said.