London: Italian doctors have saved the life of a 16-month-old boy after they implanted the world`s smallest artificial heart in him, a newspaper reported Friday.
The device, which only weighed 11 gm, kept the toddler alive until a donor organ was found. The boy had the operation at Rome`s Bambino Gesu hospital last month and had the implant for 13 days before he had a transplant.
The baby was suffering from a disease that gradually makes the heart weaker, stopping its ability to pump blood effectively.
"This is a milestone," said surgeon Antonio Amodeo.
Doctors said the device, invented by US doctor Robert Jarvik, had been previously tested only on animals. The hospital needed special permission from Jarvik and the Italian health ministry before going ahead with the procedure.