An unnamed 15-year-old Italian boy has become the world’s first child to be implanted with an artificial heart. He had a 10-hour operation last week and was said to be well in intensive care.
As he has the muscle-wasting illness Duchenne’s syndrome, he was ineligible for a heart transplant. He was close to death when surgeons decided to save him with the artificial heart.
Dr. Antonio Amodeo carried out the operation at Bambino Gesu children’s hospital in Rome, the Daily Mail reported.
Officials said the artificial heart is expected to give the boy another 20-25 years of ‘normal life’.
Amodeo said the heart is 2.5 inches long and was placed inside the left ventricle and its connection with the ascending aorta. He said:
“The device is an electrically activated hydraulic pump and is entirely located inside the thorax, in order to reduce the risk of infection. It is powered through a plug positioned behind the left ear and connected to a battery that the patient holds on a belt and is charged during the night like a mobile phone. This is the first time such a device has been placed in a young child and should give him an improved quality of life even though he is suffering from Duchenne’s syndrome.“