Camille Frede (pictured above) was just 4 years old when she was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, a life-threatening lung condition, and an atrial septal defect, often referred to as a hole in the heart. Doctors told her parents she had only three years to live.
Frede defied the odds and beat that prognosis—but spent years in and out of hospitals due to persistent breathing difficulties.
“We would go on family bike rides, and I would be blue,” she says. “We were always waiting for tragedy to happen.”
Then in 2018, at the age of 28, Frede got the call she and her family had long been awaiting: a notification from the Brigham that a matched donor heart and lungs were available for transplantation.
Lung-heart transplants are extremely rare, requiring the donor heart and lungs to be transplanted simultaneously. A multidisciplinary team of 60 staff members performed Frede’s 10-hour surgery, the first double heart-lung transplant performed at the Brigham in more than two decades.
The successful surgery opened up a world of possibilities for Frede, who is now hiking, biking, doing yoga, and, for the first time in her life, running.
“Every time I’m doing one of those things, I pray and think of my donor and the family,” Frede says. “Without them, none of this would be possible. It’s an amazing gift.”
An Introduction to Hearth Rhythm Disorders