The 2-year-old toddler who survived nearly 450 days thanks to a mechanical heart will finally return home after receiving his new heart two weeks ago.
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“When I got the call, my daughter started screaming with joy. “We have a heart for Eliam!”. […] I think I fell to my knees on the ground, ”says the boy’s father, Jimmy Asselin, with emotion.
Balloons, stuffed animals, mascot and tears of joy, the atmosphere was festive in the intensive care unit of the CHU Sainte-Justine, where a small celebration was organized this morning in honor of little Éliam, 2 years old.
The toddler, who has spent most of his life between four sanitized walls, received his new heart two weeks ago. In the next few days, his parents will finally be able to bring him home.
“The first thing I want to do is take him outside. Put it in the lawn, ”says the dad, his eyes sparkling with happiness.
The baby was born in July 2020 with congenital atrioventricular block, a condition that caused his heart to beat at only 45 beats per minute, instead of the usual 140 to 160 beats for newborns.
His condition led him under the knife for the first time in the first 48 hours of his life, to install a very small pacemaker. Since then, operations have followed one another.
“It’s going to be over sons. I’ll find it weird not to be attached to a machine anymore [quand il est dans mes bras] “, breathes in turn his mother, Sabrina Mercier Laplante.
Every day a risk
With 443 days connected to the heart of Berlin, he is the Sainte-Justine patient who has spent the longest period on this mechanical pump located outside the patient and which circulates the blood instead of the natural organ.
A record that his parents hoped not to beat. Because every day on the pump put him at risk of complications, such as infection, stroke or hemorrhage, which could occur without warning.
“We are so grateful to this family who said yes [au don d’organe]. I wanted to show what it felt like to say yes. Eliam will be able to go home. We’ve been waiting for this for so long, ”she said, struggling to finish her sentence under the influence of emotion, her son in her arms.
“Despite the tragedy they were going through, they were able to bring life back,” adds the dad, mist in his eyes.
For them, that meant 443 days of agonizing over themselves. The biggest fear was that he would not go to the transplant, his mother had previously confided to the Journal.
“It wasn’t easy, but it ended well. From getting up in the morning the whole family together, the basic things, we will be able to appreciate all the little moments in life, ”she concludes.