CBSN

Heart the size of a strawberry transplanted in 3-week-old baby

WESTWOOD, Calif. -- A baby boy in Orange County, California, is living a medical miracle after receiving a live-saving heart transplant when he was just 3 weeks old, CBS Los Angeles reports.

The baby, Dravyn Johnson, is spending his first day at home with his family after being released from Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA on Wednesday, just 2 weeks after the procedure.

"I never bought him clothes. I never got anything. I was just scared," said Nicole Eggleston, Dravyn's mother, who's had to parent him from inside a hospital room since his birth.

Eggleston found out while she was pregnant with Dravyn, her third child, that he had a severe heart defect.

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Dravyn Johnson with his mother.
KCBS

When Dravyn was just a few days old, he was transferred to the hospital in Westwood. His doctors had discovered that his condition, pulmonary atresia, was worse than anyone had expected.

"It had such severe disease that we were afraid that the baby could arrest or die at any moment," Dr. Brian Reemtsen, a pediatric heart surgeon, said.

Too sick to have his heart repaired, the decision was made to put Dravyn on the heart transplant list. The waiting time, doctors warned, could be up to six months.

But instead it happened much faster. A heart became available in just two days.

Dravyn, at 3 weeks old, became the youngest heart transplant recipient at UCLA in 25 years. His new heart is the size of a strawberry.

While extremely rare, heart transplants have been done on infants even younger. Just last month, a 6-day-old premature baby received a heart transplant at Phoenix Children's Hospital. Doctors believe that may have been the record.

Now, 2 weeks after his surgery, Dravyn is recovering well.

"He looks perfect. If you didn't know, you wouldn't know anything was wrong," his mother said.

Dravyn is expected to remain on medication, and will need follow-up appointments. Doctors expect that his new heart should last up to 20 years before he'll need another transplant.