Infant Gets a New Heart and a “Second Chance at Life” at Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital

Heart transplantation in an infant is a rare thing, but that was the journey of Jayceon Serrano, who was born in early 2021. When he was just a few weeks old, Jayceon had labored breathing and difficulty feeding. He stopped gaining weight. His parents took him to several doctors and learned that Jayceon’s heart was very enlarged, three times the normal size. He was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy.  His doctors sent him to Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital.

Jayceon was admitted to the intensive care unit in severe heart failure.  At that point, “the best thing we can do for survival is to get him a new heart,” says Raghav Murthy, MD, DABS, FACS, Director of the Pediatric Heart Transplantation Program at the Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Heart Center.

More than 100 people were on Jayceon’s team, providing more than just medical care for the four months it took for a heart to become available.

“As much as the focus is on the patient,” Samantha Corbin, LCSW, says, “how can I, as a social worker, support the parents to put their best foot forward and be that presence and support for their child?” Ms. Corbin met with Jayceon’s parents every day, helping them advocate for him and being their sounding board. Nurses provided essential support in addition to skilled care, as Janet Jimenez, RN, remembers: “If they needed a hug, we were there to provide that for them. If they needed to talk, we were there to provide that for them. You truly want the best for them as if they were your own family member.”

Mount Sinai is one of more than 50 pediatric heart transplantation programs in the country. But Jayceon was in the right place when it came time for his complex surgery. “The heart of newborn baby is the size of a strawberry,” Dr. Murthy notes, making the reconnection of the tiny blood vessels a delicate operation.

While the transplant was a success, this will be a lifelong journey for Jayceon—but a hopeful one. As Jacqueline Lamour, MD, the Director of Pediatric Heart Failure and Transplantation in the Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Heart Center, points out, Jayceon has “the potential to live an incredibly long time. As pediatricians, we follow children from birth through young adulthood, and he’s going to know me his whole life.”

Jayceon’s parents, Verinia Dalton and Mark Serrano, are  profoundly thankful to the Heart Center team. “We are so thankful to all the nurses and the doctors. We are especially grateful to the Director of Pediatric Heart Transplantation, Dr. Jacqueline Lamour, and Jayceon’s surgeon, Dr. Murthy, who implanted his new heart. Dr. Murthy really saved my Jayceon and gave him a second chance at life.  Not every kid gets that,” says his mom. “Jayceon is now home and playing with his siblings with a scar on his chest that serves as a reminder of his experience and that he has won this battle.”