To successfully transplant a heart, doctors must not only guard against rejection, they must ensure that the blood type of the donated heart and the blood type of the recipient are the same.
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta has performed one of only a dozen non-compatible heart transplants in the U.S.
Before this procedure, it was possible that a heart available for transplant would never be used because it wasn't compatible with the patients on the waiting list. With this procedure, it is far less likely that any heart available for transplant would ever be wasted.
Sometime after six months of age, infants develop anti-bodies that reject different blood types.
The heart rejection scale goes from zero to four, with four being severe rejection.
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta is one of only eight medical centers in the country that perform this ABO incompatible heart transplant.
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