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Nine months on artificial heart for Joe, 3

Wednesday April 11th, 2012

A three year old boy has had a successful transplant after spending nine months on an artificial heart, it has been announced.

Joe Skerratt is said to have spent longer on an artificial heart than any other child treated in Britain.

For 251 days he was kept alive by a 15kg machine, the size of a small chest freeze.

He eventually had his heart transplant last year - and yesterday was still in good health.

Joe was diagnosed with a heart condition called Barth Syndrome shortly after birth. He had leaking heart valves and suffered from enlargement of the organ.

After three cardiac arrests he was placed on the Berlin machine at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London.

His mother Rachel said: "Joe went through so much in such a short space of time, but once he was on the Berlin heart we started to see his character coming back.

“We took things one day at a time, while we waited for a heart to become available.

“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. The call came early in the morning and time seemed to stand still before he was taken down to theatre."

Cardiologist Dr Alessandro Giardini said: “Joe was very lucky to be able to have a heart transplant. There is a chronic shortage of donor organs for children in the UK and at any one time we have several children in the hospital awaiting a transplant.

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

Tags: Child Health | Heart Health | NHS | UK News

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