Page last updated at 17:04 GMT, Tuesday, 8 April 2008 18:04 UK

Pacemaker for five-day-old baby

Liam King
Liam King is one of the youngest patients to be given a pacemaker

A five-day-old baby born with a serious heart problem is recovering after having a pacemaker fitted.

Liam King, from Cwm near Ebbw Vale in Blaenau Gwent, has now been allowed home after the operation at the Royal Hospital for Children in Bristol.

Doctors told his parents that without the operation to correct his heartbeat, Liam might live for just 15 minutes.

Father Andy said his return from hospital was "like Christmas Day all over again".

Liam now faces operations at ages five, 12 and 21 to replace the device as he grows up.

He may also need a heart transplant.

For myself and Ann it was just a miracle day
Andy King, father

Liam was born six weeks prematurely with a heart block, a condition which affects electrical signals sent to the heart to control the heartbeats.

After the operation, Liam was revived three times when he stopped breathing but he has since recovered well enough to be allowed to go home.

"It was just the worst nightmare," said Mr King, a DJ.

Because Liam is so small, the pacemaker is located near his stomach. It controls the lower chambers of his heart, which were not working properly.

"We saw a light at the end of the tunnel then, the day he had his pacemaker. And two weeks later when he came home, it was like Christmas Day all over again," Mr King said.

Normal life

"For myself and Ann it was just a miracle day."

Mr King and partner Ann Collier have now adapted to some important rules to keep Liam safe, including not using a mobile phone near him in case it interferes with the device.

The dangers also come from MP3 player, wi-fi internet and even loudspeakers.

But Mr King said this was just a small price to pay for their new son, adding: "He's worth every penny."

Contact sports are also ruled out but doctors said swimming will be good exercise for Liam.

His father said: "He may be swimming in the Olympics for Wales!"

And Liam's parents hope their son will be able to live as normal a life as possible.

"Hopefully he'll be just like any other child," said Ms Collier.

New pacemaker for tiny tot
26 Feb 02 |  England
Baby fitted with pacemaker
02 Apr 99 |  Health

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