Boise teenager with genetic heart condition undergoes heart transplant in California

Article By: Maggie OMara

16-year-old Jacob Serre is at Stanford Medical Centre after undergoing a heart transplant in April. His mom is always by his side documenting his journey.

BOISE, Idaho — Boise teenager Jacob Serre was born with a genetic heart condition. He was just a baby when he was diagnosed with Familial Dilated Cardiomyopathy, a genetic form of heart disease.

This condition occurs when the heart muscle becomes thin and weakened in at least one chamber, causing the open area of the chamber to become enlarged. This causes the heart to be unable to pump blood as efficiently as usual.

"He was diagnosed at three months old," said Jinjue Serre, Jacob's mom.

Jacob's medical team at St. Luke's Children's Hospital in Boise has been watching him carefully since he was a young boy. He started having more serious issues in January of this year.

"Probably the biggest thing for me was fatigue and getting tired faster than pretty much anyone around me," Jacob said. "Legs getting tired, arms getting tired, and not being able to go as far or do as much."

Jacob was admitted to St. Luke's hospital on February 28, 2021. His condition continued to worsen because his heart was working too hard. After a few weeks, Jacob's doctors told his family they were out of options.

"That's when they told us that there was nothing else they could do, that he needed to go to Stanford Medical Centre in California," Serre said.

Jacob was in need of a new heart. After being transferred to Stanford Medical Centre, things moved quickly.

"On March 21, 2021, he was flown to Stanford by Air St. Luke's, and we have been here since then," Serre said.

Jacob was listed for transplant on Friday, April 2. Jacob's dad, Andrew, his sisters, and little brother stayed in Boise, as they knew it could be quite a wait for a new heart to become available.

"Generally you expect to wait a few weeks to a few months at least," Serre said.

Suddenly, the call they were all waiting for came.

"It was a phone call at night, and every time my mom got a phone call I tried to listen in," Jacob said. "I was just like, 'Yeah, this is it.' Mom just started crying and said it's time, tomorrow morning."


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