World's smallest artificial heart implanted in Italian baby

Posted at 05/22/12 10:43 AM

ROME, Italy - Italian doctors in March implanted the smallest ever artificial heart into a 16-month-old baby before the infant received a permanent organ donation, said the hospital that performed the operation.

"In March, the smallest artificial heart in the world was implanted at the Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome," Antonio Amodeo, a senior hospital official, said in a statement.

"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-old infant suffering from dilated myocardiopathy with a serious infection of the ventricular assistance device that had been implanted previously."

The artificial heart made it possible for the infant, whose identity and sex were not revealed, to survive for 13 days before the baby received a real heart transplant.

"At present, at more than one month from the surgery, the infant is in good health," the statement said.

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