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Dr. Antonio Amodeo  (Source: EPA)
The 10 hour operation has given him 20-25 additional years of life

A 15-year-old boy from Italy is now the first child patient ever to receive a permanently implanted artificial heart. The boy, who remains unnamed for now, has been dealing with an illness called Duchenne syndrome, which causes rapid muscle degeneration. He was close to death and confined to a bed with no ability to walk, and was still ineligible to be added to a waiting list for a heart transplant. 

This is when Dr. Antonio Amodeo, a pediatric cardiac surgeon, decided to perform a heart transplant on the boy. But unlike previous artificial heart transplant's, this would not just be a temporary fix. This operation would serve as a permanent solution in hopes of giving the boy a "normal life." The procedure was also unlike any other artificial heart operation because this was the first time it was performed on a child. 

"The device is an electronically activated hydraulic pump and is entirely located inside the thorax, in order to reduce the risk of infection," said Dr. Amodeo. "It is powered through a plug positioned behind the left ear and connected to the battery that the patient holds on a belt and is charged during the night like a mobile phone."

The artificial heart is approximately 4cm long and weighs about 14 ounces. After 10 hours of operating last week, the boy is still in intensive care, but woke up after surgery and is doing fine. 

"Despite the length of the operation, he woke up fine and when his mother called, he said he could not talk as he was brushing his teeth," said Dr. Amodeo. 

The boy is expected to be in intensive care for two more weeks, and with his new artificial heart permanently implanted, he has gained another 20-25 years of life. 

"This is the first time such a device has been placed in a young child and should give him an improved quality of life even though he is suffering from Duchenne syndrome," said Dr. Amodeo. "The family was happy for the child to go through the surgery and have the artificial heart implanted as he was in a very bad way and was days away from dying.

"This surgery opens up new horizons as there are many children who need transplants, but the number of donors is very small and there are some who, like this patient, cannot be transplant candidates because of illness."

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RE: Super cool...
By Murloc on 10/4/2010 11:21:16 AM , Rating: 1
he will die because of his unability to breath then.
They just gave him more 20 years of shitty life.

RE: Super cool...
By dark matter on 10/4/2010 1:05:48 PM , Rating: 1
If you were given the choice, what would you do? Say fuck it, or opt for the operation.

RE: Super cool...
By ShaolinSoccer on 10/4/2010 1:44:52 PM , Rating: 3
Maybe within 20 years, there will be a cure for his disease then he can live a full "normal" life.

RE: Super cool...
By Durrr on 10/4/2010 10:03:18 PM , Rating: 3
Not only did they extend his life, but he's proven that a permanent artificial heart works! It's kind of like donating your body to science with the benefit of life.

RE: Super cool...
By JediJeb on 10/5/2010 2:16:19 PM , Rating: 1
Depends on how you define "shitty life". Maybe he has no interest at all in doing the things YOU like to do that make YOUR life great. So what if he can't play sports, go dancing, or run to a bar every night, I don't do any of those things and think my life is great, yet some people think they would die if they couldn't do those things. One person's great life is another person's hell, and vice versa.

In all of the interviews I have seen with Stephen Hawkings I have never seen him complain about his circumstances. He works hard to make the best of his life and has lived it fully. Maybe this kid will be even more brilliant than him, who knows.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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