Revealed: girl of 13 is first child in Britain to receive artificial heart

THE GUARDIAN | Denis Campbell

Daring operation saved Chloe Narbonne after a failed transplant meant the device was the only way to keep her alive

A 13-year-old girl from Worcester is the first child in Britain to have received an artificial heart, the Guardian can reveal, after doctors decided it was the only way to save her life.
Chloe Narbonne had the device installed in a complex nine-hour operation that involved 30 NHS staff at the Royal Brompton, a specialist heart and lung hospital in London. The artificial heart kept the then 12-year-old girl alive until a human heart became available a few weeks later.

While others have had a device known as a “Berlin heart”, which replicates its functions outside of the body, Chloe is the youngest person in Europe to have had an artificial heart implanted. With her fourth heart now beating in her chest almost a year on, she told the Guardian: “I feel well, like my normal self, but not quite my normal self, not after what I’ve been through. I guess the artificial heart was my lifesaver; it’s what kept me alive until I got another heart. What I’ve been through is life-changing.”Chloe was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy when she was four weeks old. 

Her heart failed when she was 11 and still at primary school. She then had a stroke while waiting for a new heart, and when that first transplant failed to work, she was left close to death. Continue reading
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