Doctors from Rome’s Babino Gesu hospital saved the life of a 16-month old toddler when they used the world’s smallest artificial heart to keep him going until a suitable donor could be found for a transplant. They fitted the young child with a miniscule titanium pump which weighs just 11 grams and can support the blood flow of 1.5 liters a minute.
The tiny heart was invented by American Doctor Robert Jarvik and prior to being used by the doctors at Babino Gesu, it had only been tested on animals. In fact, the doctors working on the case of this young boy needed to get special permission the Italian Health Ministry and Jarvik himself, before they could carry out the groundbreaking procedure.
The boy, who has not been named, was suffering from a condition called dilated myocardiopathy. This disease affects the heart’s muscles and means that it does not pump blood around the body effectively.
One of the surgeons who performed the procedure, Antonio Amodeo told Reuters that the team of doctors working on this case had really bonded with the young boy, who had spent the majority of his young life in the ICU of the hospital. Amodeo said that the boy had become ‘like family’ to them and they wanted to do all that they could to help him.
Italy doctors save baby with smallest artificial heart (Via Yahoo News)