Hamilton City boy is youngest Impella patient in the US

A Hamilton City boy caught a cold and made history this year. A few months ago, ten-year-old Adolfo Ledesma underwent two surgeries and got what doctors called a second chance.

Posted: Apr 17, 2018 5:16 PM
Updated: Apr 18, 2018 9:29 AM

Hamilton City, Calif. -- A Hamilton City boy caught a cold and made history this year.

A few months ago, ten-year-old Adolfo Ledesma underwent two surgeries and got what doctors called a second chance.

Adolfo’s parents say he's like any other ten-year-old kid: he loves running around, likes Legos, the 49ers, the beach, and – of course – loves video games.

“Super Smash Bros, Nintendo, like Mario and stuff,” Adolfo said.

Mario is by far his favorite. Fitting, a character who always finds a way to overcome even the most overwhelming obstacles in his path.

“You know, he's been given a second chance,” his dad Sergio Ledesma said.

That’s what doctors at the UC Davis Medical Center told his parents.

It all started in January, when his parents took him to the Enloe Medical Center thinking it was just a cold, but, after a couple of trips, doctors still couldn't figure out what it was, so they airlifted him to UC Davis because they have a children's ICU.

“Luckily we took him when we did, otherwise he probably wouldn't be here today,” Ledesma said.

Adolfo had Influenza A. Doctors say there's a 1 in 1,000,000 chance it makes its way to the heart, and he was that one.

Doctors said his heart was working overtime to keep him alive, and they were afraid Adolfo would not make it.

“Getting the news that it's his heart and his heart could fail if they don't do something right away, it's pretty scary,” his dad recalled.

He underwent two surgeries, the second of which took about 12 hours, and that's when they put in the Impella, a small pump that supports a patient’s pulmonary circulation by recovering the heart’s ability to pump blood while allowing the heart to rest and heal.

He's the youngest person in the country to ever have this done, and he was put on the heart transplant list just in case it didn't work out.

“Seeing him in the bed so sick, I mean, not knowing whether he would make it or not, obviously that's just the worst feeling ever,” his mom said.

Luckily, it did work out. And his parents couldn’t be happier that their super hero is finally back to his normal self.

“He's playing, real happy, just brings a smile to everyone.”

His parents said the Impella doctors have reached out to them and want to ask some questions about the procedure and how things went, so they can learn from this experience and help more people.

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