Ten-year-old Delaney “Chi Chi” Soto returned to Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone to celebrate the one-year anniversary of her lifesaving heart transplant.
Chi Chi got the best birthday gift last year when she received a new heart on January 31, 2022, just days before her 10th birthday. Now the nearly 11-year-old celebrated the success of the surgery and her birthday with her favorite care team at Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital.
“She was in a dire need for a new heart,” says T.K. Susheel Kumar, MD, pediatric cardiac surgeon and surgical director of the Pediatric Heart Failure and Transplant Program, who performed Chi Chi’s transplant. “To see her one year later as a healthy, happy child is quite rewarding.”
Chi Chi was diagnosed 20 weeks in utero with Noonan syndrome, a disorder that can cause congenital heart defects in addition to preventing normal development in various parts of the body. She had five open heart surgeries and had experienced end-stage heart failure before the procedure last year.
Chi Chi’s condition kept her in and out of the hospital her whole life. Today, Chi Chi is thriving. “You would never know that she had been sick. She’s happy all the time,” says mom Katherin Rivera.
“The first year after a heart transplant is a critical time,” says Rakesh Singh, MD, pediatric cardiologist, medical director of the Pediatric Heart Failure and Transplant Program, and the Haugland Family Associate Professor of Pediatric Cardiology in the Department of Pediatrics. “If a person lives through the first year, it’s a very good indication they will live for many years.”
Watch the celebration on ABC7 Eyewitness News.