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Last Updated: Friday, 24 August 2007, 13:40 GMT 14:40 UK
Artificial heart boy going home
Jack Vellam
Jack had the Berlin Heart device removed in a operation
A 13-month-old boy who spent a world record 120 days on an external artificial heart is returning home.

Jack Vellam, of Pitsford, Northamptonshire, was placed on the "Berlin Heart" device at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital in March.

It was removed 15 days ago after he recovered from an inflammation of the heart muscle.

Doctors say he is the youngest patient to ever to have the heart condition known as myocarditis.

His overjoyed parents, Danielle Hastings, 18, and Terry Vellam, 21, were expecting to take him home on Friday.

Jack's mother said: "It's still dawning on me that we are going home. I'm trying to take it all in."

Jack suddenly fell ill in March and was taken into hospital in Northampton, where he had a heart attack.

He was then transferred to Leicester where doctors suggested the family consider switching off the life support machine as he was so ill.

This is the best of days for us, this is what we work for
Dr Richard Kirk
Consultant paediatric cardiologist

Miss Hastings said: "It was a heart-breaking ordeal for all of us."

He was transferred to Newcastle, where it was discovered he was suffering from myocarditis.

He was put on the Berlin Heart, which meant four tubes with 60 stitches each going into his chest, to allow it to operate outside his body.

As about one in three children recover from the condition on their own, medics decided to wait and see if Jack could pull through without the need for a transplant.

He was treated by the same team that saved toddler Zoe Chambers, who underwent a heart transplant after suffering six cardiac arrests and a Europe-wide search for a donor.

Dr Richard Kirk, consultant paediatric cardiologist, said: "Jack would have died without the Berlin Heart.

"This is the best of days for us, this is what we work for."

Jack will now continue his treatment at a hospital in Northampton.


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