Permanent heart device implanted in child

October 2, 2010 21:43

ROME— A Rome hospital says it has implanted an artificial device to permanently assist the heart of a 15-year-old boy, saying it is the first such operation ever on a child.

Officials at the Bambino Gesu' hospital in Rome say that so far such permanent artificial heart implants had been performed on adults.The hospital said Saturday that the patient is myopathic, or affected by a muscular disease, which prevents him from being put on a donor list for an organ transplant.

The doctors implanted a battery-powered, U.S.-made pump in his heart's left ventricle during a 10-hour operation Thursday.

Doctor Antonio Amodeo, who led the medical team, says over 400 adults in the world are fitted with a similar device. He says life expectancy is another 20-25 years.

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