Aurora boy is world’s youngest recipient of smaller artificial heart

CHICAGO -- As he awaits a heart transplant, an Aurora boy is the youngest person in the world to receive a smaller version of a temporary artificial heart.

Jaheim Whigham, 11, is one of the most popular patients at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. He says the artificial heart makes him feel like a robot.

Today the Lurie cardiac team, his family and his army of caregivers proudly talked about his status as a medical marvel -- the world's youngest recipient of the 50cc SynCardia Total Artificial Heart (TAH-t).

The device is a smaller version of the 70cc TAH-t. The smaller device was designed to fit women, men of smaller stature and adolescents.

Jaheim was born with a heart defect and underwent his first transplant in 2012 but his body began rejecting that last year, limiting his time with his younger brother.

With Jaheim's health worsening, doctors implanted the 50cc Total Artificial Heart last month. It's a transplant bridge seldom used in children.

Jaheim is the youngest and smallest recipient ever, and one of only 40 worldwide.

Now the hope is that the wait for a donor transplant heart won't be too long.

According to the Gift of Hope, in the U.S. alone more than 4,200 people are awaiting heart transplants.