Six-year-old who underwent an artificial heart transplant finally gets real heart

artificial heart

A sweet little 6-year-old has finally got his very own healthy heart after making history last year as the youngest person in SA to receive an artificial heart.


At the age of five, Mnotho Mndebele made medical history in Africa. He became the youngest patient in Africa to undergo a mechanical heart transplant. He received his heart ventricular assist device (HVAD) in August last year.

A mechanical heart transplant is a short-term solution and allows the patient to live a normal life until they are able to get a new heart. Mnotho was able to go back to school and live life as normal after his operation. He has to carry a small battery unit with him at all times to ensure the pumps keep moving.

As is common with any foreign object in the body, the HVAD isn’t a lifelong solution due to the body rejecting it. It is used as a bridge until a viable human donor heart is found. In April of this year, Mnotho picked up an infection which made it critical he find a heart soon.

The challenge was that it’s very rare for a pediatric patient to get a heart transplant as donors are equally as rare. Thankfully, a few months after his initial infection, a matching heart was found.

They went to Johannesburg for the operation and the transplant was done during a nine-hour surgery. His teacher Steph Campher confirmed that just days after the surgery, Mnotho was singing his heart out and was excited to finally head home.

“He is such an energetic and friendly child, who loves to play and interact with his friends. He is always smiling and laughing, and definitely has a special place in my heart,” Campher added.

Sources: Newcastle Advertiser
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Tyler Vivier
Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy. Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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