Man gets 3 chances to live thanks to 2 heart transplants

TENNESSEE CITY, Tenn. – At any given moment, there are 3,000 people waiting to get a heart transplant in the United States. 

Without enough donated organs, 20 people die each day waiting for a heart transplant. 

Meet Peyton Boling, 21, who was not only given a second chance at life, but a third.

But a disease Boling developed when he was a baby caused his heart to stop.

"He had a massive heart attack when he was 8 months old," said Melody Boling, Peyton's mother.

Peyton Boling was placed on the transplant list for a new heart, and a year later, he got it.

"Then in the fourth grade, he developed a chronic rejection," Melody Boling said.

Peyton Boling's new heart was failing. 

"It was very scary to know that my health was not in the best place," Peyton Boling said. 

Transplant hearts do not last as long as a person's original heart. But with improving technology, the current average lifespan of a transplanted heart in children is 20 years. 

At age 21, Peyton Boling ended up in the hospital and back on the transplant list. He got his second heart transplant.

"It is very rare that you would get a chance at a second heart transplant," said Edith Newberry, RN, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.  

Newberry was the nurse practitioner for Peyton Boling's first transplant 19 years ago and she was there for his second one. 

"To see him as an adult have another opportunity at a heart transplant has been pretty amazing," Newberry said.

"When I woke up from surgery, I was in pain, but I felt there was something I couldn't describe. I just felt better," Peyton Boling said.

Only about 12 percent of transplants worldwide are performed on children and about 3 to 4 percent of heart transplants are retransplants.