Toddler Avoids Heart Lung Transplant Waitlist

Doctors discover a way to mend heart, giving 3 year old new hope

Featured Video Play Icon
Zoey Jones, 3, works with therapists at her home in Nashville. Zoey is no longer a candidate for a heart lung transplant after doctors at Nationwide Children`s Hospital found a way to help restore normal blood flow to her lungs and follow-up surgery on her heart.

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)  – Just 36 months into her life, Zoey Jones had spent 23 months in the hospital. Zoey was born with a rare defect known as VACTERL syndrome, which, among other issues, left her esophagus unattached to her trachea, her stomach unattached to her small intestine and caused serious issues in the development of her heart and lungs.  “We’ve had 13 surgeries, 3 open heart surgeries, 7 cardiac arrest and 5 strokes,” said her mother Torri Goddard. “Zoey has had a very long road.”

Eventually doctors in Zoey’s hometown of Nashville determined that she needed a heart/lung transplant. But a trip to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio for a second opinion, would change Zoey’s life dramatically.

“It’s extremely uncommon, but with what we found, she certainly did not need a lung transplant and I felt we may be able to save her from a heart transplant, as well,” said Darren Berman, MD, co-Director of the Cardiac Catheterization and Interventional Therapy in The Heart Center at Nationwide Children’s.

During a routine procedure to determine the condition of Zoey’s heart and lungs in the cath lab, doctors found that blocking some of the blood flow to her lungs by using a vascular plug to close off one of her surgically-placed shunts lowered the pressure in her lung arteries enough that operating was possible. Thanks to that discovery and the operation she desperately needed, today, Zoey is thriving. 

 

Images

(click to download)

Zoey Jones, 3, works with therapists at her home in Nashville. Zoey is no longer a candidate for a heart lung transplant after doctors at Nationwide Children`s Hospital found a way to help restore normal blood flow to her lungs and follow-up surgery on her heart.

Three year-old Zoey Jones and her family traveled from Nashville to Columbus, Ohio for a heart and lung transplant, but after an innovative approach by doctors at Nationwide Children`s Hospital, Zoey`s was able to keep her heart and lungs, and is thriving today.

Darren Berman, MD, reviews images of a 3 year old patient at Nationwide Children`s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Though it`s extremely rare, Berman and a team of doctors were able to allow a 3 year old to keep her heart and lungs, thanks to 2 timely and innovative approach.

This image, taken by doctors at Nationwide Children`s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, helped spare a 3 year old girl from a heart-lung transplant. Doctors noticed a shunt was providing too much blood to the lungs of little Zoey Jones. Thanks to 2 timely and innovative procedures, Zoey was home less than 2 weeks later.

Zoey Jones, 3, was born with VaCTErL syndrome, which caused severe issues in her heart and lungs. Her doctors in Nashville referred her to Nationwide Children`s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio for a heart and lung transplant, but doctors there were able to repair her own heart, and Zoey is no longer a transplant candidate.

Zoey Jones, 3, and her mother Tori Goddard, celebrate after learning Zoey would no longer need a heart-lung transplant. The two traveled from their home in Nashville to Nationwide Children`s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, where doctors were able to fix Zoey`s own heart and lungs.