MIAMI (WSVN) - Doctors at a South Florida hospital successfully performed a lifesaving and revolutionary liver transplant on a baby less than a year old.
Except for the feeding tube in his nose, Michael Angelo is like any other bouncing baby boy.
“He is crazy. He is wild,” said Jill Angelo, the baby’s mother. “Michael Angelo is his name, so I guess he got more of the ninja than the artist.”
Michael was born last September in Tampa.
A few months later, he was diagnosed with biliary atresia, which is a rare, genetic, life-threatening liver disease that only appears in infants.
“It was really, really obvious on his baptism,” said the baby’s mother. “He was wearing white, so the jaundice was really showing, and the yellowish tint of his eyes was a lot more obvious.”
The only thing that could save him was a liver transplant, so Michael was airlifted from St. Petersburg to Holtz Children’s Hospital in Miami, where the family experienced another setback.
“He came only at 8 pounds, and if we can, we really like to wait until they are 13 or 14 pounds to be able to transplant them,” said Dr. Jennifer Garcia, medical director of pediatric transplant services, “and he just did not give us that opportunity. He was just too sick.”
Michael’s physicians worked to incorporate 3D technology to cut a liver from an older donor down to size.
“We had to cut just a piece of a liver from a 2-year-old, so really it was a piece of liver that was probably 100 or 150 grams,” said Dr. Rodrigo Vianna, chief of liver and intestinal transplants, “and then we were left with very tiny vessels and structures to reconstruct.”
Surgeons were able to increase their view of the baby’s tiny organs and pulled off a successful surgery by incorporating two innovative technologies usually used for neurological procedures.
“This is a little bit rare to use such a tiny piece of liver,” said Vianna, “but he needed it, and thank God everything worked out.”
Now that doctors have the technology, all they need are the organs to continue making lifesaving transplants.
“Please register and give the gift of life,” said the baby’s mother. “You can save eight lives just for being a registered donor.”
“We will forever be an advocate of donation, absolutely,” added David Angelo, the baby’s father.
Michael left the hospital with his parents on Thursday to return to the West Coast of Florida, where he will continue his road to recovery.
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