Jarvik artificial heart aids baby in Italy

A 16-month-old boy in Italy now has an artificial heart developed by Dr. Robert Jarvik beating in his chest. Reuters reports that the operation, which was made public late last week, took place in Rome in April. The baby had suffered from dilated myocardiopathy, where the heart develops stretched or enlarged fibers and stops pumping properly. Jarvik and the Italian health ministry granted special permission for the 11-gram titanium pump (versus 900 grams for an adult artificial heart) to be used as a bridge to transplant, after it was previously tested only in animals, according to the story. Jarvik was previously in the news a few years back while serving as a spokesman for Pfizer's Lipitor. Those ads were pulled after it became known that he had never actually practiced medicine. Story

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