Doctors keep three-year-old alive for record 251 days with an artificial heart

Doctors keep three-year-old alive for record 251 days with an artificial heartDoctors in the UK have created a new record by keeping a three-year-old boy alive with an artificial heart for 251 days, which is longer than any other child in the country.

Doctors at the Great Ormond Street Hospital had conducted a successful heart transplant surgery on Joe Skerratt in 2011. The young child was also diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) soon after birth and suffered three cardiac arrests 15 months ago.

The condition had made his heart muscle weak and was unable to pump blood efficiently around his body. He has been in hospital attached to a machine called ‘Berlin heart’ for nine months. The machine, which weighs about 15kg, supports hearts work and is used as a life-saving tool for children who are awaiting a heart transplant surgery. The boy’s patients had to wait for a record time for a donor for their child.

“When Joe passed the 200 day mark on the Berlin heart we started to really question what else could be done if a heart wasn’t found, but we knew deep down there wouldn’t be much. On day 251 the call we had been waiting for came. We were offered a heart for Joe,” said Mrs Skerratt said.

Mrs Skerratt, from Gillingham described the feeling of seeing a new heart for his son as incredible and expressed gratitude to the family of the donor.

Joe's consultant Dr Alessandro Giardini, consultant pediatric cardiologist at GOSH said that the team is delighted to see ‘Joe doing so well and thriving at home’.

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