Artificial heart keeps infant alive - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Artificial heart keeps infant alive

(NBC) - A small artificial heart is keeping a baby girl alive while she waits for a transplant.

Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto, CA, is one of the first hospitals in the nation to implant a tiny artificial heart in babies until they are big enough for a heart transplant.

Audrey Mac Ivor is currently using one of the artificial hearts. The 4-month-old was previously diagnosed her with heart failure.

She needs a donor heart to survive, but because she's so young it could take three to six months before she can get one.

While she waits, the Berlin Heart, which was surgically implanted last month, is doing the work her heart can't.

With every pump it sends 2 teaspoons of blood through her body.

The artificial heart also gives Audrey a chance to put on weight and grow stronger, increasing her chances of a successful transplant when she does find a donor organ.

Just a few years ago this heart was not an option for babies. Lucile Packard has been part of rigorous clinical testing of the heart on 12 pediatric patients.

Because of that research an FDA advisory committee has now unanimously recommended the agency approve the heart for children.

That means babies across the nation may soon be able to benefit from the device.

The FDA is expected to make a final decision on the Berlin heart for kids in two months. It is currently available to babies through clinical trials.

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