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Family Celebrates Daughter's Recovery from Innovative Heart Transplant


Sarah Avery
Sarah Avery
919-724-5343 Email

A local mother says she's grateful her 14-year-old daughter has a second chance at life, after she became the first pediatric patient in the U.S. to undergo a DCD transplant using the organ preservation technology developed by Transmedics.

Brandaline Rice said the procedure came after a scary months-long medical journey for her oldest, Jaynzra Rice, who their family affectionately calls “Nae.”

She said it started back in February when Nae was hospitalized at Duke after having some trouble breathing. Nae has 1p36 deletion syndrome and can’t communicate what she’s experiencing verbally. Her family thought perhaps it could be pneumonia, but they were shocked when the teen was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy.

Nae would end up getting an LVAD procedure and spending a little more than three months in the hospital, with her mom sticking by her side during the day, and her father, Juandrell Rice,

Brandaline said the fear of not knowing what was going to come next for her daughter made that time, one of her lowest of lows, but she said what happened next was a roller coaster. A little over a month after the hospital discharge, the family got the call – Nae was eligible to receive the first pediatric DCD heart transplant. Brandaline was overjoyed.

Nae received the landmark surgery on August 31 - it was a success, and her condition continues to improve. While the teen still has a long journey ahead of her when it comes to rehab, her mom has faith in her fighting spirit, and she looks forward to the day when Nae can get back to her favorite things, like riding the bus to school or enjoying time with her 10-year-old sister.

When asked what she wants others to know about her daughter becoming the first child to receive this kind of procedure, what words of inspiration she might have for other parents who may have a child on a heart transplant waiting list, Brandaline said “God grants second chances.”

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