Leland toddler, Owen Monroe, is thriving months after undergoing a groundbreaking heart surgery. Owen was diagnosed with truncus arteriosus, a congenital heart defect, which required major surgeries early in his life. Doctors at Duke University Hospital proposed a living-tissue partial heart transplant, a procedure that had only been successfully performed five times in pigs. At just 17 days old, Owen became the recipient of the world’s first partial heart transplant. Since then, the surgery has been performed 12 additional times, with Owen’s surgeons hailing it as the biggest advancement in pediatric cardiology in four decades. Today, Owen is enjoying a normal toddlerhood, walking, running, climbing, and even feeding himself solid foods.
Owen’s parents, Nick and Tayler Monroe, rejoice in their son’s progress and consider him a miracle. Nick, an educator at the Cape Fear Museum, and Tayler, a nurse at New Hanover Regional Medical Center, savor each moment of their son’s development, grateful for the opportunity to witness him living a normal life. Owen’s recovery is a testament to the success of the revolutionary surgery and offers hope to other children with similar heart conditions. The surgery has opened up new possibilities in pediatric cardiology and has the potential to change the lives of countless children in the future.