Brianna Barker / All heart
Brianna’s heart has always been in the right place. But when she was infected by a debilitating cardiac virus at the age of 7, she found herself in the hospital more than any young person should be. Between the ages of 7 and 13, Brianna was under the care of Montefiore heart transplant cardiologists Jacqueline Lamour, MD, Robert Pass, MD, and Daphne Hsu, MD, who successfully managed her life-threatening arrhythmias and cardiomyopathy as she battled bravely with countless hospitalizations, medications and treatments.
But on the evening of June 10, 2011, her heart gave out. Brianna went into cardiac arrest.
By the time she arrived at Montefiore, Briana’s heart and lungs were failing. She needed a heart transplant. And our doctors needed to figure a way to keep her small heart pumping until a donor could be found.
They determined that a specific type of ventricular assist device (VAD) was the best option for Brianna. While VADs had been used as a bridge to a transplant in numerous cases, Brianna's was the first reported use of this particular VAD for a child in the United States. David D’Alessandro, MD, who had performed this surgery on adults many times with his team of adult heart specialists, worked with a team of pediatric heart specialists, to install the VAD during a complicated and revolutionary surgery.
Brianna survived the surgery. Then, just weeks before her 14th birthday—and only ten days after being placed on the waiting list for a new heart—heart transplant surgeon Dr. D’Alessandro performed the heart transplant that saved her life.
Today, Brianna is a typical suburban teenager. She’s an A student who enjoys cooking, hiking with friends, climbing waterfalls and giving back to her community. She and her mom have since become advocates for the American Heart Association, organ donation and the "CPR in the Schools" bill, which would require CPR training prior to high school graduation.
Montefiore Einstein Center for Heart and Vascular Care
Montefiore Einstein Center for Heart and Vascular Care is renowned for its innovation and clinical excellence, offering novel treatments for the most complex cases and advancing the field of cardiovascular care through pioneering research and clinical excellence.
The Heart Center’s highly-specialized team of adult and pediatric experts is patient-focused, responsive and committed to the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease through leading, innovative therapies and clinical best practices—many of which are offered to our patients before they become generally available at other medical institutions.
Learn more about: