Redwood City woman is longest-living person with same transplanted heart

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- Wednesday marks a medical milestone for pediatric heart transplants.

The youngest, successful heart transplant recipient has become America's longest-living with the same transplanted heart for 30 years.

32-year-old Lizzy Craze lives in Redwood City. She's married, likes to run and is the only heart transplant recipient in the country, possibly the world, to survive with the same donated heart she received as a toddler. She said she thinks it's a cool milestone.

"Back when I had the transplant um transplant recipients weren't supposed to you know survive five maybe 10 years and I think hitting 30 years on the same heart is a pretty big deal," Craze said.

Lizzy got that heart a few months shy of her third birthday.

Doctors at Stanford University's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital knew her heart was failing and transplantation was her only option.

That was 1984, the first year children five-years-old or younger received heart transplants. Cardiologists didn't even know if a transplanted heart would grow.

"So there were a lot of unknowns and there were many people who thought we'd have to replace the heart every few years because it wouldn't grow larger as the child grew and we actually showed that that wasn't the case," Daniel Bernstein, pediatric cardiologist said.

Craze received the heart of a young car crash victim from Utah.

Doctors say she's been the model patient ever since. She's been taking her medication daily and staying physically active.

She loves to run and completed San Jose's Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon on Sunday.

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