An 11-year-old boy from Chicago has become the youngest ever recipient of a smaller artificial heart.
Jaheim Whigham was born with a heart defect that meant blood couldn’t circulate around his body properly.
He received his first heart transplant when he was just seven years old, but last October his body started to reject the organ.
As his kidneys began to fail, doctors took the decision to fit Jaheim with a a 50cc SynCardia Total Artificial Heart.
Lurie Children’s Hopsital’s, Dr Kiona Allen said: “I think our primary worry was that we wouldn’t be able to keep [Jaheim] going for the months that it takes to wait for another donor heart.
“You only have to see him to know that you would do whatever you need to do to fight for him. So we decided to take the chance and to do something innovative and to bring that technology here.”
Jaheim is just one of 40 people worldwide to be fitted with the smaller version of SynCardia’s Total Artificial Heart.
The device replaces both failing heart ventricles and the four heart valves. It comes with a portable driver, which fits into a backpack.
Jaheim is now returning home as he waits for a donor heart to become available.