UHealth Surgeons Save Toddler’s Life with Florida’s First Eight-Organ Transplant

University of Miami Health System 
Front row, from left, Delilah Valdez, Julissa Cerda, Jose Garza and Liam Garza. Back row, from left, Rodrigo Vianna, M.D., Jennifer Garcia, M.D., and Alan Tekin, M.D. Photo courtesy of Jackson Health System.
UHealth – University of Miami Health System surgeons saved 1-year-old Liam Garza’s life by performing the first eight-organ multivisceral transplant in Florida. This was just five years after they saved Liam’s sister, Delilah Valdez. Both of them were diagnosed with Megacystis microcolon intestinal hypoperistalsis syndrome (MMIHS), also known as Berdon syndrome and required multi-organ transplants.

Jennifer Garcia, M.D., UHealth pediatric gastroenterologist and associate professor of clinical pediatrics at the Miller School of Medicine, described MMIHS as a rare prenatal congenital disease involving a dilated bladder that causes massive abdominal distension, microcolon, and decreased or absent intestinal function. The condition is usually fatal within the first year of a child’s life without transplant.

During an ultrasound when she was six weeks pregnant, Julissa Cerda received Liam’s diagnosis. It was all too familiar. Her doctors in Texas noticed that her second child’s bladder was enlarged, and suspected he was developing the same congenital disease that had affected Delilah. Cerda recalled what her daughter had faced in 2011 when she was just 16 months old and received a seven-organ transplant from UHealth surgeons at Holtz Children’s Hospital, part of the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center.

Knowing what to expect, Cerda and her husband, Jose Garza, decided to return to Holtz Children’s Hospital and the UHealth transplant surgeons who had previously saved their daughter’s life. Continue reading

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