World's smallest man-made heart gives Italian infant new lease of life
London, May 25 (ANI): Italian doctors were successfully able to implant the smallest artificial heart into a 16-month-old baby, enabling the infant to stay alive for 13-days before receiving a permanent organ donation.
The experimental US-designed tiny titanium device, weighing just 11 grams, with the capability of pumping up to 1.5 litres of blood per minute was given to the infant in a pioneering eight-hour operation in March, surgeons at the Bambino Gesu paediatric hospital announced this week.
"The operation was extremely complex and the child subsequently underwent a heart transplant, but currently, two months after surgery, the child is doing well and is in excellent health," the Independent quoted Dr Antonio Amodeo, the surgeon who led the procedure, as saying.
The parents of the baby, whose identity and sex have not been disclosed, were "ecstatic" over the success of the pioneering procedure, he added.
The infant had been suffering from a form of heart failure known as dilated cardiomyopathy, together with a serious infection of an artificial system that had already been transplanted to assist the failing organ.
"The prognosis of such a complication is, unfortunately, very poor," Dr Amodeo said.
"So at that point the only solution was to remove the infected ventricular system, with all the tubes and intervene immediately using this experimental prototype," he added.
The tiny artificial heart, which had never been used clinically before, is still being tested as part of a research programme at the National Institutes of Health in the US.
The surgeons in Rome raced to get a special permit from the US medical watchdog, the Food and Drug Administration, as well as the Italian Health Ministry in order to use the device.
Within 48 hours of deciding to go ahead with the experimental surgery, permission had been obtained from both the US and Italian authorities. (ANI)
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