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Eleven year old from Illinois one of youngest humans with artificial heart

A 11-year old boy from Illinois become one of the youngest human beings to have received an artificial heart.

According to a foreign news website, Jaheim Whigham was born with a congenital heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome. He was underwent a heart transplant four years ago but his body was rejecting it.


The cardiologists at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago implanted a specially designed artificial heart in a 15-hour long life-saving surgery.

The medical team is hopeful that artificial heart device will give them  enough time to arrange a new heart for the Illinois native.

The eleven-year old had his first transplant surgery at the age of seven years. The doctors found that his transplanted heart was not working and the organ was being rejected by his body.


The medications prescribed to Jaheim by the doctors were also not working and the boy’s kidneys also started to fail.

Then doctors informed Jaheim’s parents about SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart (TAH-t) which substitutes both of the failing heart’s ventricles and four heart valves and it also restores blood flow to the vital organs and the body.

Two small tubes are connected to an external power supply named driver. It can be switched from the external hospital driver to the Freedom portable driver which fits in a backpack and to provide mobility once the patient is stable.

The doctors decided to fit the 50 cubic centimetre TAH-t, designed for women, as the original 70-cc device was too large for the boy’s chest.

Chief of cardiovascular surgery at Lurie’s Hospital Dr. Carl Backer claimed that the Surgery was complicated as Jaheim’s previous surgeries had made it difficult.


Jaheim is reported to be recovering well, according to Backer. He added that the boy’s organs are recovering, he is breathing on his own, he is walking around the Intensive Care Unit whereas the tubes from the device have been switched to a portable driver so that he can wear it like a backpack.

He has been placed on a donor list for a new heart and he will have to wait for six to nine months for the organ.



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