Children’s Mercy performs its first pediatric heart transplant

James D. St. Louis, M.D.
James D. St. Louis, M.D.

James D. St. Louis, M.D., the Joseph Boon Gregg/Missouri Endowed Chair in Pediatric Cardiac Surgery, led the team that performed the first pediatric heart transplant at Children’s Mercy.

Hannah Mountz, 15, of Kansas City, Missouri, was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy at age 12, a disease in which the heart muscle becomes weak and enlarged, making it difficult to pump blood through the body. The six-hour surgery took place at Children’s Mercy on Feb. 13.

“Months of preparation and dedicated work from the Children’s Mercy Heart Center came together with a great candidate in Hannah. This combination resulted in an amazingly successful inaugural heart transplant,” St. Louis said.

“I am a part of an amazing team of hardworking people that goes into performing a heart transplant. In addition to the cardiologists and surgeons involved, the transplant team is comprised of transplant nurses, a pathologist, a pharmacist, social workers, dietitians and child life specialists,” St. Louis said.

St. Louis was selected for the position of the Joseph Boon Gregg/Missouri Endowed Chair in 2014. Recognized for his expertise and scholarship in pediatric cardiovascular surgery, he was previously an associate professor of surgery and pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. He was the director of pediatric cardiac transplantation at the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital, among other appointments.

St. Louis earned his medical degree at Georgetown University and trained at Duke University Medical Center and Children’s Mercy.

A news release from Children’s Mercy with more detail about the surgery at the Ward Family Heart Center is available online.