Second-youngest baby to receive heart transplant at California hospital released

Nicole Eggleston and her five-week-old son Drayvon.

Nicole Eggleston and her five-week-old son Drayvon.  (Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA )

A five-week-old baby boy who became the second-youngest heart transplant recipient at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA was finally able to go home with his mother Wednesday.

Drayvon Johnson, who was born in February, was only 23 days old when he received his new heart, which is about the size of a strawberry, according to a hospital news release.

Doctors had diagnosed Drayvon with pulmonary atresia when his mother, Nicole Eggleston, went in for her 22-week sonogram. Pulmonary atresia is a congenital heart defect wherein the valve that releases blood from the heart to the lungs doesn’t form correctly, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Surgeons initially thought Drayvon’s heart could be repaired in a series of procedures, but after his February birth discovered he only had one coronary artery instead of two, and determined surgery was too risky, according to the news release.

At just five days old, Drayvon was airlifted from the Orange County hospital he was born at to Mattel. Doctors placed him on the transplant list, and after two days, a match was found.

“All of our heart transplant patients are special, but I think this one was special because we knew there was a risk we might not find a donor in time,” Dr. Juan Alejos, professor of pediatric cardiology and director of the pediatric heart transplant program at Mattel, said in the news release.

The hospital’s youngest heart transplant surgery occurred in 1994 on a 16-day-old infant. According to the news release, the hospital has performed more than 300 pediatric heart transplants since 1984.