First pediatric heart transplant recipient at CMH 'feels wonderf - KCTV5

First pediatric heart transplant recipient at CMH 'feels wonderful'

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Hannah Mountz, 15, says she feels wonderful after her heart transplant surgery. Hannah Mountz, 15, says she feels wonderful after her heart transplant surgery.
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Children's Mercy Hospital performed its first pediatric heart transplant earlier this month and for the first time KCTV5 got a status report from the teenage patient herself.

Hannah Mountz, 15, was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy three years ago, a disease in which the heart muscle becomes weak and enlarged, making it difficult to pump blood through the body.

A few months back, it became clear she had no choice but to hope for a new heart.

"I feel wonderful, I really do," she said.

After six weeks at the Ward Family Heart Center at Children's Mercy, Hannah is heading home with a new healthy heart and three things on her immediate to-do list.

"My main goal was to go home and sleep in my own bed," she said.

Hannah also craved one particular meal: chicken enchiladas.

And believe it or not, she was excited to do something most teens aren't.

"I'm actually very eager to go back to school. I know that's not something you usually hear a 15-year-old girl saying,” Hannah said.

Hannah's pediatric cardiologist says it will be a few months before that can happen. It's too risky for her to be exposed to infection. A lot rides on the next steps in the transplant process.

"There's three major complications after transplant - rejection, infection and a portion of our children can be at risk for cancer," said Dr. Aleissa Barnes, a pediatric cardiologist for Children's Mercy.

Hannah and her family know the risks, but have every confidence that she will return to the activities she loves. It was during marching band season last fall that Hannah's family really noticed her energy level decline, but she wouldn't give up.

"There were times when she was marching on the field where she actually couldn't play her instrument and walk at the same time because she had no breath," said her father Tim Mountz.

With heart transplants now possible at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, it ensures that children like Hannah no longer have to travel and leave their community and family for the procedure. That's something the Mountz family says was a blessing.

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