Heart & Vascular Health | Heart Failure
Porter Lyons video still

New Year, New Heart: A Transplant Story

A seven-part series with heart

This article is more than 2 years old.
There may be more recent information available.

On Christmas Eve 2011, high school senior Porter Lyons couldn’t breathe or slow his racing heart — which was twice as large as it should be. Over the course of a week, his life would change because of a diagnosis of cardiomyopathy, the same diagnosis his father faced 25 years earlier. He and his family would go through the ups, downs and difficult decisions that come with a heart transplant.

Watch and read the Porter Lyons story in our seven-part series.

Lyons family at Cleveland Clinic

Episode 1: Flight for Life

On Christmas Eve 2011, high school senior Porter Lyons couldn’t breathe or slow his racing heart — which was twice as large as it should have been because of cardiomyopathy. His heartwarming transplant story starts here.


Porter Lyons waitsEpisode 2: The Wait

The story of Ohio teen Porter Lyons’ cardiomyopathy and heart transplant continues. In this episode, doctors searched for a new heart while a family learned that waiting is the hardest part.


Dr. Nicholas SmediraEpisode 3: Finding a Heart

While Ohio teen Porter Lyons waited with his family, doctors searched for a new heart to replace his. His girlfriend would deliver the news — just as his mother had for his father 25 years earlier.


Starting a new heartEpisode 4: Starting a Heart

Within a week of Porter Lyons arriving at Cleveland Clinic, a search team found him a new heart. A few hours later, Porter’s second chance began with his first new heartbeat.


Delivering good newsEpisode 5: The Importance of Organ Donation

Awe. Thankfulness. Those feelings came to Karen Lyons when surgeon Nicholas Smedira, MD, walked into the waiting room early on New Year’s Eve to announce that her son Porter’s new heart was beating.


Porter recoversEpisode 6: The Recovery

Somebody else’s heart was beating inside Porter Lyons’ chest. Six days after his surgery, Porter was having a little trouble wrapping his mind around that concept. It would take some time to sink in. So would the next steps.


The Lyons familyEpisode 7: Going Home

As the Lyons family prepared to go home, they faced the reality that their youngest son, Harper, would need to be watched closely for cardiomyopathy. Fortunately, they had an entire community behind them.

Tags: dilated cardiomyopathy, heart disease, heart failure, heart transplant, Porter Lyons, VAD
Chat with a heart nurse to get your questions answered

We welcome your comments. However, we cannot provide a medical opinion without an in-person consultation. To learn about Cleveland Clinic services available to you, please fill out our WebMail form.