Heart Transplant Patient Stories

Santana receives groundbreaking heart-lung procedure

Santana Renchie takes on life as if she knows—at the tender age of 2—that she’s lucky to be alive. She’s sassy, full of joy, and determined to not miss a single moment of fun. “There’s nothing stopping her. She’s relentless. If she wants something, she just goes for it,” says her dad, Sebron. That wasn’t the case until last fall, when she received a lifesaving, novel surgical procedure at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, one that has never been performed elsewhere in the world. The nearly 16-hour operation took a huge multidisciplinary team of heart experts to pull off, but the result likely means a brighter, better future for Santana. Learn more >

Young man with Becker muscular dystrophy receives heart transplant

Serafin didn’t have any health concerns as a young child until age 10, when he started experiencing muscle spasms. At age 12, he was diagnosed with Becker muscular dystrophy—a genetic disease that causes muscle weakness throughout the body, including the heart. Because Serafin’s heart problems were complex, doctors at his local hospital advised him to go to Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, where he received a ventricular assist device (VAD) and eventually a rare heart transplantLearn more >

Mackenzie, Stanford Medicine Children's Health's 500th Heart Transplant

Stanford performed the first successful pediatric heart transplant over 35 years ago. From that first triumph, the hospital built a legacy as one of the highest-volume heart transplant programs in the United States, holding the No. 1 spot for highest pediatric heart transplant volumes in the West. Fast forward to 2021, that number has grown to 500! Tiffany Collins never would have guessed that her healthy, active daughter, Mackenzie, would be the 500th pediatric heart transplant patient at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health. Tiffany and Mackenzie recall the journey to their legendary heart transplantation in this video interview that also features Mackenzie’s treating doctors. Meet Mackenzie, our 500th pediatric heart transplant patient >

Edgar and the PACT team

As a child, Edgar developed Becker muscular dystrophy, which led to dilated cardiomyopathy, a weakness of the heart muscle. In 2010, the heart surgery team at Stanford Medicine Children’s Health placed a HeartMate II device in Edgar, something that many children’s hospitals hadn’t attempted yet in kids because almost all VADs are designed for adults. Now at 26, Edgar reached a medical milestone: lived with a ventricular assist device (VAD) for 10 years. Learn more >

Barbie after surgery

Barbarita, or Barbie for short, was born with a very rare condition called neonatal lupus. While some babies born with neonatal lupus experience only a rash that goes away with time, others, like Barbie, develop more severe complications, with the most serious being a congenital heart block, which in this case required a heart transplant. Learn more >


Athena Dieuanh Tran

Athena Dieuanh Tran received her heart transplant at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and was one of the first patients to be moved into our new hospital. She decided to document her personal story in writing, going back several years before her transplant. Learn more >


Justin Wang

At just 15-years-old, Justin Wang has already built a bucket list of the things he wants to see and do in his lifetime. That’s because for Justin, health complications including needing a heart transplant is something that has been part of his life for as long as he can remember. Learn more >


Isaac Guajardo

“Victory day!” was the last thing Isaac Guajardo’s family heard him say as he was wheeled into surgery to receive his new heart on April 14, 2018. At just 9 years-old, it was the fifth open heart surgery Isaac was undergoing in less than three years. But he knew this one was different. Learn more >



In their deepest, darkest moment a family chose to spare another family from the same situation and to give another child they never knew a chance at life. Five-year-old Hana, a heart patient at our hospital, and her family met the family of Leo, her heart donor. Learn more >



Every Wednesday at Ziyan’s middle school, students run the mile as part of “Workout Wednesday.” 11-year-old Ziyan, who was born with a congenital heart condition, wasn’t healthy enough to join them. Soon she was even too sick to stay in school. But a rare surgery helped her survive long enough to receive a heart transplant. And, just a few months later, she lined up for the race. Learn more >