The world’s smallest artificial heart has been implanted into a 16-month-old baby by Italian doctors in Rome. The child went on to receive a permanent heart donation, the hospital that performed the operation said.
A statement from senior hospital official Antonio Amodeo (above) revealed:
“In March, the smallest artificial heart in the world was implanted at the Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome.
“The device, a titanium pump weighing only 11 grams and that can endure a flow of up to 1.5 litres 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.”
11 grams! To put the teensy size of this device into perspective, an artificial heart for adults will typically weigh around 2 pounds, or 900 grams – around 80 times the weight of its baby equivalent.
Thanks to the artificial heart, the infant – whose identity and gender remain completely anonymous – survived for 13 more days before she/he received a real heart transplant. The hospital’s statement added:
“At present, at more than one month from the surgery, the infant is in good health.”