'Little Darth Vader' star Max Page gets new heart valve

LOS ANGELES, CA -- Max Page, 10, is known best for his role as little Darth Vader from the 2011 Volkswagen Super Bowl commercials.

What many fans may not know is that Max has been in and out of the hospital his entire life. He was born with a congenital heart disease, which causes narrowing of his pulmonary valve and restricts blood flow from his heart to his lungs.

Max's health is a constant worry for his family, especially his little brother Els.

"You never really know when it's going to pop up or anything, so it's kind of gotten hard," Els said.

Max recently went to Children's Hospital of Los Angeles for his 10th surgery, but it was a different kind.

Doctors implanted a new heart valve, called a Melody device, which will help him avoid open-heart surgery. Less than 24 hours after the implant, he was able to go home.

Next week, doctors will replace his pacemaker. Doctors are hopeful the new technology will help the soon-to-be sixth grader go much longer without another surgery.

"I feel a lot more energy and more playfulness," Max said.

He and his family are grateful to the doctors and want his journey to give hope to other families going through similar situations.

"He's going to live with a heart condition his whole life, but he can live a full, healthy, strong life. He can accomplish anything he wants to do," his father, Buck Page, said.

Max said he is already working on his next acting project.

To make a donation to CHLA's new hybrid surgery center go to CHLA.org/MAX.
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