Sofia Sanchez Undergoes Successful Heart Transplant

August 27, 2018

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After a nine-hour surgery, 11-year-old Sofia Sanchez is recovering from a successful heart transplant performed at Lurie Children's. On Monday, August 27 – one week after rap star Drake surprised her in her hospital room, Sofia received her second birthday wish – a new heart. Sofia and her family found out Sunday night that a donor heart was available and the next morning she underwent her transplant. 

Carl Backer, MD, cardiovascular surgeon who was part of the hospital's first transplant team 30 years ago, performed Sofia’s transplant. “The surgery went extremely well. As with all heart transplants, the next 24-48 hours will be critical, but the heart seemed happy in its new home.” 

Sofia, who was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, has been waiting for a new heart for the last eight weeks. A month ago, she underwent open heart surgery in order to connect a VAD (ventricular assist device), which is a mechanical pump that helps support the heart and blood flow in people with heart failure.

Sofia won the attention of Drake after she and her cousin performed the KiKi Dance down the hospital hallway tethered to her IV pump and VAD, and then taped a video message from her hospital bed asking Drake to visit her at Lurie Children’s. Drake surprised her on Monday, August 20. After the surgery and recovery, Sofia will go to the Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s for six to eight weeks. 

Lurie Children’s heart transplant team has performed more than 300 heart transplants and 26 heart transplants so far this year. Lurie Children’s has one of the largest pediatric heart transplant programs in the Midwest and is ranked the 3rd best Pediatric Cardiology & Heart Surgery hospital in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.  Along with a history of outstanding outcomes, some of the nation’s top pediatric cardiologists, CV Surgeons, cardiac specialists under one roof are what makes Lurie Children’s Heart Center one of the nation’s best. Learn more about Lurie Children's Heart Center.