On the x-rays, Lorena's heart is significantly enlarged and she is sent to the intensive care unit of Maceió medical center. But even after one month, the doctors cannot help Lorena and recommend a transfer to the Heart Institute of the University of São Paulo (Instituto do Coração da Universidade de São Paulo), one of the reference centers for heart treatment in Brazil.
Lorena's condition remains critical when the family sets out on the 2.500 km journey to São Paulo in early November 2017. Once there, Lorena runs through comprehensive examination. The diagnosis: dilated cardiomyopathy. The total capacity of her heart remains only at 11 percent (ejection fraction: 11 %) and the performance of her right as well as her left ventricles is severely limited. A heart transplantation seems to be unavoidable.
In order to stabilize Lorena until transplantation, the doctors try to support the native function of her heart with medication first. Unfortunately without success, Lorena suffers a heart attack and must be revived.
Her only chance: the implantation of the EXCOR® Pediatric ventricular assist device. Five patients - three children and two adults - have already been treated with the EXCOR® system from Berlin Heart at the Instituto do Coração.
Nevertheless, Lorena is the first pediatric patient in Brazil to have a biventricular support due to the severe dysfunction of both heart ventricles. That means one EXCOR® pump supports each ventricle. Furthermore, her low weight of only 5.5 kg at the time of implantation, worries the doctors.
But everything goes well. Shortly after the operation, Lorena's condition improves visibly, all vital organs such as liver and kidney are properly supplied with blood again, she eats normally, interacts with her parents and smiles. A glimmer of hope for Lorenas parents. “After a short period of time Lorena had gotten used to her two little hearts and she was getting better every day," says Lorena's father Renato Luciano Torres.
During her time in hospital, not only Lorena’s parents but also the entire medical and nursing team stand by her side. In February Lorena celebrated her first birthday with her family and the whole team.
Only two months later, in April 2018, Lorena's parents receive the long-awaited message - a donor heart is available. The ensuing transplantation is successful and only a few weeks later Lorena can finally return home.
We keep our fingers crossed for Lorena and her family and wish them all the best for the future.