Boy spends record time with artificial heart
London, April 18, 2012
Three year old Joe Skerratt is now a picture of health, but he was kept alive for 251 days by an artificial heart – longer than any other child in the UK.
Joe underwent a successful heart transplant at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) last year after being diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) soon after birth.
The condition, which causes the left and also sometimes the right hand side of the heart to stretch, left Joe’s heart muscle weak and unable to pump blood efficiently around his body.
Joe spent nine months in hospital attached to a device called the ‘Berlin heart’, a 15 kilogram machine the size of a small chest freezer, which supports the work of the heart and acts as a life-saving bridging device for children awaiting a transplant.
His parents, Mark and Rachel, have spoken for the first time to urge families to discuss organ donation and to join the NHS organ donor register.
Rachel said: “We are eternally grateful to the donor family. We cannot imagine what they went through. Their generosity of thought at such a horrendous time is completely selfless and amazing.
“Organ donation is a topic everyone should discuss. It is not just those with conditions present from birth who end up needing transplants. Some children, like Joe, will become very sick, very quickly.
“We would also like to thank all of the staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital for what they have done for Joe, but especially his consultant, Dr Alessandro Giardini, and the nurses on Ladybird Ward.”
Dr Giardini, consultant pediatric cardiologist at GOSH said: “We are really delighted to see Joe doing so well and thriving at home. He spent a long time with us in hospital.
“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.”
GOSH is the largest centre for cardiothoracic transplantation in the UK, and one of the largest in Europe. Later this year, the hospital will open the Wolfson Heart and Lung Centre, part of the Morgan Stanley Clinical Building. The new centre will contain state of the art inpatient, daycare and operating facilities. – TradeArabia News Service