Kid Captain: Wyatt Rannals

IOWA CITY, Iowa — At just 3 months old, Wyatt Rannals received a lifesaving heart transplant at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

“Our first pregnancy was complicated and surprised us with a beautiful daughter with Down syndrome,” Wyatt’s mother, Monica, says, reflecting on why they sought an early ultrasound. “We wanted to be better prepared this time.”

Before he was born, an ultrasound revealed a large cystic hygroma—an abnormal growth along his spine—and Wyatt was later diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a rare congenital defect in which the left side of the heart is severely underdeveloped and incapable of supporting systemic circulation.

“The outlook was grim,” Monica recalls. “The OB said given the size of the hygroma, we would have a less than 5% chance of ever holding our baby boy.”

Their local doctor referred Monica to see a high-risk obstetrician at UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

“We were terrified,” she says. “But at the same time, we knew that’s where we needed to be to get the best care. We couldn’t give up because our baby wasn’t giving up. It was reassuring to know we were in good hands.”

Read Wyatt’s story here.