They call her “Mary Miracle”, a nickname she has certainly earned after overcoming adversity at such a young age.
12-year-old Mary Tannes of Toronto has become the youngest woman in the country and one of the world’s youngest to receive a total artificial heart.
After years of surgery, and even a failed previous transplant, Tanus is now a living success story and a great example of the wonders of the medical world.
Born with two forms of congenital heart disease, Tanus’ life journey was very different than the others. At the age of three he had open heart surgery, and at the age of seven he had his first heart transplant, which unfortunately did not go according to plan.
“Total artificial hearts are rarely used in pediatric patients because of their size and limitations,” explains Dr. “The device, for older adults, is a large set of mechanical pumps that are surgically attached to vessels inside the chest and operated by connections outside the body, to a large control unit that is almost as large as a Mary’s. It’s long and lasts 24 hours.”
The 14-hour process came with its hiccups and hurdles, most notably the need to stop the excessive bleeding that occurs during the procedure. Once the team successfully completed the surgery, Maryam was required to be sedated on ventilation for 16 days.
To the relief of the young woman and her family, she found a heart two months later. A process that came with its own complications was finally coming to an end.
Maryam is now able to enjoy her days off and summer vacations like any other child, however, the transplant is not a complete cure, but an extension of life. It is likely that in the future, unfortunately the transplant may fail again.
Fortunately, that doesn’t stop the young warrior from swimming four days a week and participating in sports with his older brother, Jack.
Maryam’s mother, Linda Antoan Advar, who dubbed her the “Mary Miracle”, shared with SickKids how proud she is of her daughter. Linda says, “I am so happy and we are proud of that.” “Her journey is not easy, but day after day she shows us how strong she is now.”