Health & Family

3-year-old Charlotte-area boy gets heart transplant

Aydan Ellis, 3, underwent heart-transplant surgery on Saturday, his mother, Miriam Ellis-Gibson, said.
Aydan Ellis, 3, underwent heart-transplant surgery on Saturday, his mother, Miriam Ellis-Gibson, said. tkimball@heraldonline.com

Aydan Ellis, the 3-year-old Rock Hill boy whose wait for a heart transplant was documented in The Herald last week, received a heart Saturday, his mother said.

Aydan underwent surgery Saturday to transplant the heart after months of waiting.

So far, Aydan seems to be handling the surgery well, his mother, Miriam Ellis-Gibson, said.

“He is still in intensive care, and he will be there for a while, but he has opened his eyes,” Ellis-Gibson said. “It happened so fast – even though we knew it would be a call and then the surgery.”

The transplant took place Saturday just before an organ awareness and fundraiser event in Aydan’s name was set to start at St. Mary Catholic Church in Rock Hill. Ellis-Gibson was able to get word to the hundreds of people in attendance that Aydan had received a new heart.

For children, only an adult guardian can decide to donate organs. Adults can make the decision to be an organ donor by indicating so on a driver’s license or state-issued ID card.

Until the transplant, Aydan had to use a Berlin heart machine outside his body because of congestive heart failure since birth.

It is unclear where the donated heart came from. Medical teams require a heart of similar size, brought in within a few hours after the death of another child, to do a transplant.

A team of medical and clinical professionals had worked with Aydan and his family since February, preparing for the transplant.

Ellis-Gibson thanked the York County community and many more Sunday for their support and prayers for Aydan after his story appeared in The Herald and was shared worldwide.

“We thank God and all the people who have prayed about this,” she said.

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