Max Page, the Mini Darth Vader, to Undergo Heart Surgery

Published on 
June 13, 2012

**UPDATE - JUNE 18**

Max Page is in Good Condition
"Max is doing great!," says Max's mom, Jennifer Page. "All the tubes have been removed. He has walked a couple of times and he's wearing his USC Trojans shirt instead of a hospital gown. Good news: We reached $10,088 on Max's Junior Ambassador page (chla.org/max) which supports Children's Hospital Los Angeles. Amazing!"

**UPDATE - JUNE 17**

Max Page in Good Condition
"Max had a great night! ," Jennifer Page, Max's mother, said Sunday. "This morning he is able to get himself out of bed and walk around a little bit."
Jennifer added: "On Friday, when we asked him how he was doing, he gave us the thumbs up. On Saturday, when we asked, he said, 'I am happy.' Progress! Big thanks to our prayer warriors, the Children's Hospital Los Angeles medical staff, our family and friends. You are rallying for us and keeping us strong."

**UPDATE - JUNE 16**

Max Page in Good Condition 
"He had a good night. He is in very good condition," says Children's Hospital Los Angeles attending physician Dr. Sylvia Del Castillo, MD. Dr. Del Castillo expects Max to remain in the hospital's Cardiothoracic ICU Saturday as doctors monitor his blood pressure. "He is on medication for his blood pressure and that will keep him in the unit," she said.
 
Jennifer Page, Max's mother, said "Last night he said - how do I get all these things off of me? So we wrote a goal list on the white board and soon he was focusing on blowing bubbles, drinking juice, moving a bit. Today we share our goal list with you so you can lift that up as your prayer request for sweet Max.
 
1. Hear breathing in left lung (currently partially collapsed)
2. Blow bubbles
3. Sit in chair
4. Drink enough fluids to take neck line out
5. Eat
6. Remove chest tubes
7. Remove most I.V. lines
8. Walk
 
We have a busy day ahead of us! Thank you for the countless well wishes - we appreciate them all."
 

**UPDATE 3 - JUNE 15**

Max Page remains in “Good Condition” After Open Heart Surgery at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
Max Page, the mini Darth Vader, was listed in “good condition” Friday afternoon, a day after undergoing open heart surgery at The Heart Institute at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

“He’s in good condition and doing very well,” says Sylvia Del Castillo, MD, an attending physician in the hospital’s Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit. “He’s eating and in good spirits.”

Max is on medication to help control his blood pressure, “which is normal,” Del Castillo adds.

“We have been able to see our son do some pretty incredible things,” says his mom, Jennifer Page. “But today we were just so proud to see him doing simple things -- he stood up and sat in a chair. He’s taking charge of his recovery and feeling better by the hour.”

Max may be able to move from the ICU on Saturday. He had surgery June 14 to replace a pulmonary valve.  

**UPDATE 2 - JUNE 15**
View video clips from the press conference on June 14.

Interview with Dr. Starnes within an hour after Max's open heart surgery at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

**UPDATE 1 - JUNE 15**
“He’s doing fine; He’s in good condition,” says David Epstein, the attending physician in the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “He’s smiling and talking,” adding that Max may be able to move out of the ICU Saturday.

“Max had a pretty peaceful night,” says Jennifer page, Max’s mother. “This morning he gave us the thumbs up and he said ‘hi’ to his brother, Els, and told him he loved him.”  

**UPDATE - JUNE 14**
Max Page Recovering From Open Heart Surgery
Max Page, the little Darth Vader, was recovering at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles after open heart surgery Thursday.

“The surgery today went very well,” says Max’s surgeon, Cardiothoracic Surgeon Vaughn Starnes, MD, co-director of The Heart Institute, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, and Distinguished Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery, H. Russell Smith Foundation Chair and Executive Director of the CardioVascular Thoracic Institute at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. “We went in to replace his pulmonary valve, which we did without incident. Max is in the cardiac ICU and recovering very well.”

The surgery took two hours and Max is expected to be in the hospital three to four days. Dr. Starnes said Max’s new valve is a porcine manufactured valve – a small adult size for Max. “Hopefully it will last 10 to 15 years,” Dr. Starnes said.

During the surgery, Jennifer and Buck Page, and their son Els, were supported by family members and friends as they spent time in a hospital family lounge. “I’m feeling like this morning was very difficult, but the surgery went extremely well,” Jennifer said in a statement. “On the healing side, we need all the prayers and all the encouragement we can. The next 48 hours are so crucial in Max’s recovery. We love the outpouring of support that everyone has shown and the kindness from family, friends and strangers has been tremendous.”

The Pages thanked the public for the outpouring of support and donations made to Max’s charity page, www.CHLA.org/MAX. “Every dollar that is given in Max’s honor means so much to us and all the children at this hospital,” Jennifer said Thursday.

**UPDATE - JUNE 13**
View video clips from the press conference on June 13.

Interview with the Page family about Max's surgery and sharing their support for Children's Hospital Los Angeles.  

Interview with Michael Silka, MD regarding Max's heart condition and surgery.  

Max Page, the little boy who entertained millions playing a mini Darth Vader in a 2011 Super Bowl ad, will undergo surgery to replace a pulmonary heart valve on June 14 at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The surgery will be performed in The Heart Institute at Children's Hospital Los Angeles by Children’s Hospital Los Angeles by cardiothoracic surgeon Vaughn Starnes, MD,  Distinguished Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery, H. Russell Smith Foundation Chair and Executive Director of the CardioVascular Thoracic Institute at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

Max, 7, was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart defect in children. At that time, his parents, Buck and Jennifer Page, brought their infant son to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for treatment.

Max has received care for his heart in The Heart Institute at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles since he was born.  The Heart Institute is one of the largest pediatric cardiac programs in the country and ranked among the top in the nation by US News & World Report. 

“This is an anticipated operation,” says Starnes. “It’s not something that came up,” explaining that the condition is based on his previous condition. “We tried to preserve his pulmonary valve,” explains Starnes. But over time, the valve has deteriorated. “It has not grown very well so it’s creating a problem for the heart to empty out into the pulmonary arteries. He needs a new valve and that’s the planned operation,” says Starnes.

Max, a cast member of The Young and the Restless, serves as a Junior Ambassador for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, speaking to groups and encouraging individuals to support treatment and research to fight pediatric illness. He tells other kids: “If you use your FORCE and dream big, you can achieve anything. We may be small but we are mighty.” WATCH: Max Page and his family talk about his upcoming surgery on the TODAY show.

"Max is taking it one day at time and maximizing each day,” Jennifer says. “When he first heard the news, he was afraid, but later he wanted to talk about all the things he can do and he made a big list of the things he could focus on for the summer.”

“I don’t have a choice. I have to go through it,” Max said, according to his mother, Jennifer. “I don’t like it and it’s still scary-but I have to. So I think I might as well go through it with a good attitude.”

As an official Junior Ambassador for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Max raises funds and awareness for the hospital.  Max participated in the hospital’s 2011 5k “Walk for Kids” event and raised a combined $51,000 to help open the new state-of-the-art Marion and John E. Anderson Pavilion so that other children may continue to receive the highest quality pediatric health care available on the West Coast.  Max has also used his star power as the pint-sized Darth Vader in the popular “The Force” Volkswagen commercial to lobby on Capitol Hill against Medicaid cuts, which heavily impact children’s hospitals. Even in the midst of preparing for his open heart surgery, Max wants to continue his efforts so other kids have the same access to care.

As such, the Page family is asking the public to make a donation to the CHILDREN’S FUND in honor of Max:  www.CHLA.org/MAX

The Children's Fund raises donations to support the exceptional care, research, and education that make Children's Hospital Los Angeles among the top pediatric hospitals in the nation. The Fund also helps provide care for all families regardless of their ability to pay.