By Nancy Loo, wgntv.com
As he awaits a heart transplant, an Aurora boy is the youngest person in the world to receive a smaller version of a temporary artificial heart.
Jaheim Whigham, 11, is one of the most popular patients at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. He says the artificial heart makes him feel like a robot.
Today the Lurie cardiac team, his family and his army of caregivers proudly talked about his status as a medical marvel — the world’s youngest recipient of the 50cc SynCardia Total Artificial Heart (TAH-t).
The device is a smaller version of the 70cc TAH-t. The smaller device was designed to fit women, men of smaller stature and adolescents.
With Jaheim’s health worsening, doctors implanted the 50cc Total Artificial Heart last month. It’s a transplant bridge seldom used in children.
Jaheim is the youngest and smallest recipient ever, and one of only 40 worldwide.
Now the hope is that the wait for a donor transplant heart won’t be too long.
According to the Gift of Hope, in the U.S. alone more than 4,200 people are awaiting heart transplants.