Max Page Receives a New Heart Pacemaker Pulse Generator from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Published on 
September 2, 2015

Los Angeles (Sept. 1, 2015) – Child actor Max Page, who portrayed mini Darth Vader in Volkswagen’s 2011 Super Bowl ad, received a new heart pacemaker pulse generator in a 30-minute procedure that took place at Children’s Hospital Los Angles Tuesday. The operation came 34 days after Max underwent a three-hour procedure to receive a Melody Transcatheter Pulmonary Valve to replace a pulmonary heart valve that had been implanted in 2012.

“Everything went fine with the pulse generator procedure,” says Children’s Hospital Los Angeles cardiothoracic surgeon Winfield Wells, MD. “Max is a remarkable young man and we are honored to take care of him.”

Attention Media: 

  • B-roll selects of the Sept. 1st pacemaker procedure and the July 30th Melody heart valve procedure are available on request.
  • Max’s July 30th Melody heart valve procedure was documented in a CHLA-produced YouTube video that media may link to their respective news websites. The video is also posted on Chla.org

 “We are excited for Max,” says his father, Buck. “The energy this takes wears on you but even today before the surgery, Max said, ‘I want to get this done.’ It was game day. He wants to get on with life; he is very excited about going into the sixth grade this year and wants to get started with school. He gives us strength in those moments that we have worries and concerns for him. He says dad, ‘I got this.’ ”

The procedure got underway at 7:40 am at CHLA and Max was on his way home with his family by 11 am the same day.

“I am so relieved it went well,” says Max’s mom, Jennifer, shortly after the operation was completed Tuesday morning. “Now we are going to head home and heal! This hospital and the people we know here are like family to us. We are so grateful. ”

Tuesday’s procedure at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles replaced his pacemaker pulse generator, which runs on batteries and needs to be switched out with a new device at periodic intervals, every five to seven years, Wells explained. The pulse generator is attached to electrodes, called leads, which send electrical impulses to the heart. “He has had the old pacemaker pulse generator for some time,” Wells says.  

On Tuesday, the pulse generator was implanted in Max’s abdominal wall and will keep track of Max’s heart rhythm through the electrodes sewn to the heart. It stimulates the heart muscle with an electrical impulse to maintain the appropriate heart rate for whatever activity Max is doing at the time.

Wells expects Max to be able to resume normal activities within a week, and the new pacemaker pulse generator should last up to seven years. The pulse generator contains electronics sense how fast his heart is beating, and if necessary, paces the heart to keep it at the appropriate rate. “The device won’t allow his heart rate to go below 70 but more important if he is being active, it will sense that the heart wants to go faster and keep the heart synchronized at that faster rate,” Wells says.

About Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
 Children's Hospital Los Angeles has been named the best children’s hospital in California and among the top 10 in the nation for clinical excellence with its selection to the prestigious U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll of children’s hospitals. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles is home to The Saban Research Institute, one of the largest and most productive pediatric research facilities in the United States. The hospital is also ranked among the country’s premier teaching hospitals, and has been affiliated with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California since 1932.

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