Critically Ill Maryland Teen Adjusts Well to Classmate's Heart

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"What is surprising is how quickly he needed the heart," Dr. Kaushal said. "The father needed it in his 40s, and he needed it in teenage years."

Kyle's dad had his own heart pump installed in 2005 and went on the transplant list. His doctor was Erika Feller, the same cardiologist who later treated his son. Months after getting his heart pump, Wilkerson got his own news from Feller: There was a heart waiting for him.

"It is pretty rare that the cardiomyopathy is so bad in both father and son to require something as significant as a heart transplant," Dr. Feller said. "It is pretty unusual."

Her husband's surgery and successful recovery gave Denise Wilkerson great comfort. She thought Kyle was in good hands at the University of Maryland Medical Center, although he would be the first pediatric heart transplant patient there under a new program established by Dr. Kaushal.

She praised the doctors and their care. "I have my two guys because of them," she said.

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