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Record for young boy with artificial heart

11th April 2012

A British toddler has been kept alive with an artificial heart for more than eight months, it has been revealed.

pedcongentialheartsurgery

Doctors say that is a record for a child in the UK with the “Berlin heart” having been used to keep three-year-old Joe Skerratt from Gillingham in Kent alive for 251 days until he had a transplant.

The Berlin heart gave his own heart support after he was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy until he had the transplant last year.

By last December, Joe’s condition had deteriorated with his heart becoming severely enlarged and valves beginning to leak, leading to him being transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.

His condition was stabilised and he was linked to a Berlin heart, which is about the size of a small fridge.

Consultant paediatric cardiologist at Great Ormond Street Dr Alessandro Giardini said Joe was lucky to be able to have a transplant as there is a chronic shortage of donor organs for children in the UK, with several children in the hospital awaiting a transplant at any one time.

“Lots of children wait years for an organ to become available and can very sadly die while they are doing so,” he added.

Joe’s parents have appealed for more people to join the NHS organ donor register and his mother Rachel said they were “eternally grateful” to the donor family.

“We cannot imagine what they went through, their generosity of thought at such a horrendous time is completely selfless and amazing,” she said.

 

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