lFollowing a historic, first-ever milestone for Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, a team of pediatric cardiac surgeons successfully replaced the heart of Maz Zisan, an 18-year-old from Brooklyn Heights, with end-stage heart failure on August 28, 2021.
Maz had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a rare condition in which the heart muscle becomes abnormally thick, making it difficult for his heart to pump blood to the rest of his body. According to the American Heart Association, an estimated 1 in 500 people have HCM, but a large percentage of patients are undiagnosed because many people with the disease have few or no symptoms. As HCM progresses, it can cause problems in the heart’s electrical system, leading to life-threatening abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias) or heart failure.
“Heart transplant was the only lifesaving option for Maz to have an improved second chance at life,” said Rakesh Singh, MD, medical director of the Pediatric Heart Failure and Transplant Program, pediatric cardiologist and associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at NYU. . Langon. “The successful completion of our first transplant is a testament to the teamwork at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital.”
What led to the patient’s heart transplant?
Since he was 14 years old, Maz has been training regularly in the gym, with a special interest in mixed martial arts. “Over time, I noticed how quickly I became short of breath and slowed down compared to my friends in cardio-related activities,” Maz recalls. “I would take pre-workout supplements and drink large amounts of coffee to try and keep up, without thinking much about it.”
In December 2019, Maz suddenly passed out while leaving a SAT practice test at his high school. He was rushed to a local Brooklyn hospital and diagnosed with HCM, a shocking finding for Maz and his family. Since his unexpected diagnosis at age 16, he had to sit on the sidelines while his friends were playing sports, playing sports and doing normal activities that fatigued him much more quickly than others and led him to have persistent episodes of palpitations, dizziness and pass out.
Shortly after his diagnosis, Maz came to Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital to speak to Frank Cecchin, MD, the Andrall E. Pearson professor of pediatric cardiology and director of the division of pediatric cardiology. dr. Cecchin performed a procedure to place a defibrillator that would protect Maz from life-threatening arrhythmias and gave him heart medication to control the condition. In June 2020, Dr. Cecchin Maz to Dr. Singh within the Pediatric Heart Failure and Transplant Program to manage his ongoing heart failure symptoms. dr. Singh led the team in evaluating Maz to see if he would be a good candidate for a transplant.
“After months of monitoring Maz, it was clear that he was quite limited in doing basic things around the house and out of the house. A stress test on a treadmill in March showed a significant decrease in his exercise capacity and given his ongoing heart failure symptoms despite maximum medical treatment for his HCM, a heart transplant was the only option for a better quality of life,” said Dr. Singh, who listed Maz on the transplant waiting list on April 9, 2021.
On August 26, 2021, Maz and his family received a call that a donor organ was available. The transplant procedure was performed by TK Susheel Kumar, MD, surgical director of the Pediatric Heart Failure and Transplant Program, pediatric cardiac surgeon and associate professor in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery; and Nader Moazami, MD, surgical director of adult heart transplantation at the NYU Langone Transplant Institute and chief of the division of heart and lung transplantation and mechanical circulation.
Maz Zisan celebrated his 18th birthday and high school graduation at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital while waiting for a donor heart to become available.
Photo: NYU Langone Staff
“He is healthy and is going home thanks to the excellent care he has received at every level, especially within the pediatric heart failure and transplant program here at NYU Langone. I am grateful to everyone who has cared for Maz and feel privileged to be part of a team that continuously strives for the best results for each of our patients,” said Dr. Kumar. “It was our privilege to go through with this transplant and I couldn’t be happier for Maz and his family.”
Maz is looking forward to starting his first semester of college, studying mechanical engineering, and getting back into mixed martial arts with his newfound heart.
A leader in caring for children with the most complex heart needs
The Pediatric Heart Failure and Transplant Program, part of the Pediatric Congenital Heart Program at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital, was established in September 2020. The Pediatric Congenital Heart Program, a national leader in pediatric and congenital heart surgery, has a 99 percent survival rate, surpassing that of the largest programs in the Northeast region and the national average, according to statistics from the recently validated data from the United States. Society of Thoracic Surgeons. The program uses a team-based approach to care for patients and families affected by HCM and other hereditary cardiomyopathies.
“This milestone at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital underscores our commitment to provide excellent, comprehensive care to all patients with our advanced expertise to care for children with the most complex cardiac needs,” said Catherine S. Manno, MD, the Pat and John Rosenwald Professor of Pediatrics and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics.
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