The smallest artificial heart has been successfully used on a 16-month-old baby in Rome, Italy according to doctors, who say the baby is now doing well. The infant has now received a permanent heart transplant and "is in good health," a statement by officials said.
"In March, the smallest artificial heart in the world was implanted at the Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome," official Antonio Amodeo said in public statement. Amodeo refused to give any identifying information about the infant in order to protect the family's privacy.
"The device, a titanium pump weighing only 11 grams and that can endure a flow of up to 1.5 liters per minute, was used in an emergency case of a 16-month-infant suffering from dilated myocardiopathy with a serious infection of the ventricular assistance device that had been implanted previously," Amodeo explained.
The infant was able to survive for 13 days with the artificial heart before receiving an actual heart transplant. "At present, at more than one month from the surgery, the infant is in good health," he stated.
This infant is not the first to receive cardiac care at such a young age. In February, a baby girl was delivered prematurely and, at only 15 minutes old, received a pacemaker. The baby girl, named Jaya, was suffering from a condition in which her mother's immune system was attacking Jaya's cardiac system.
Amazingly, she survived the procedure and is now a happy, healthy baby girl. Her parents noted that even when Jaya was inside her mother's womb, she was a strong fighter.
"Whenever we were worried, she would kick from inside and say, 'I'm here! I'm alive! We thought maybe she was trying to tell us that everything was OK, so we were always hopeful," her father said.
Jaya will always need cardiac care, doctors say, but she is expected to lead a long and healthy life. As for the infant in Rome, she survived the heart transplant and appears to be adjusting well.