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Religion

Heart Transplant Survivor Dies Soon After Giving Birth (Photos)

| by David Bonner

A heart transplant survivor died on June 27, just hours after giving birth to her first child.

Meg Johnson, 31, delivered her daughter, Eilee Kate, without complications at a medical center in Nashville, reports the Daily Mail. But things quickly took a turn for the worse.

Josh Wilson, a friend of Johnson and her husband, Nate, explained how the tragedy unfolded:

Eilee was born at 2.40 in the morning. It all went smoothly. They were just so happy. Eilee is so beautiful. Nate said they were just so happy and sat together talking and looking at Eilee for hours and hours. Everything was normal. All their family went home to rest. Then between 9 and 10 she started having complications and the doctors rushed in and within about an hour she had passed.

Although the cause of death is uncertain, doctors said they do not believe it is related to her heart transplant, which she underwent in 2010, eight years after contracting myocarditis.

Johnson was diagnosed with myocarditis at age 15, after she contracted a virus. Her case became critical after contracting pneumonia when she was 23, at which time she was told that she needed a transplant within a week to survive.

The disease is described by the Myocarditis Foundation:

Myocarditis is a disease marked by inflammation and damage of the heart muscle. Although the exact incidence of myocarditis is not known, it is estimated that several thousand patients per year are diagnosed in the United States. Myocarditis usually attacks otherwise healthy people. It is believed that 5 to 20% of all cases of sudden death in young adults are due to myocarditis.

There are many causes of myocarditis, including viral infections, autoimmune diseases, environmental toxins, and adverse reactions to medications. The prognosis is variable but chronic heart failure is the major long term complication. Myocarditis and the associated disorder of idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy are the cause of approximately 45% of heart transplants in the United States.

"The pregnancy was tough, like all pregnancies," Wilson added.  "But their doctor had cleared them, said it was safe, and the birth was smooth. They even sat together for hours afterwards just talking and talking. They had no idea."

Wilson describes Nate as being "shell-shocked" by his wife's sudden death. "He's up and down. He's doing ok. Meg was so excited for baby Eilee and spent her whole pregnancy preparing for her, so she gave him a good start. We're all just trying to spend as much time with him and Eilee as possible, all doing shifts at the house. It's unbelievable what's happened."

To help the family financially, Wilson started a GoFundMe page which has raised $250,000, far surpassing the original $40,000 aim.

"I've had to start calling friends who know about large sums of money, because I don't know what to do with this!" he exclaimed. "Maybe it's going to be enough to start a college fund for little Eilee. That would be amazing."

Was Meg's sudden death related to her heart transplant?
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