UK Toddler Surviving With An Artificial Heart

by in Amazing Baby Story, Heart Surgery

Ollie Drew is just 14 months old, but he is already making a name for himself around the world. He is currently the only person in the UK to be kept alive with an artificial heart.

The toddler has been attached to the Berlin Heart for 67 days at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital. The left side of his heart does not pump properly because the muscles have become “baggy” and his valves cannot shut properly. Brave Ollie underwent a seven-hour operation where two tubes were fed from his heart to the Berlin – which is bigger than he is.

At just seven months old, Ollie was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy. This is a condition in which the heart becomes weakened and enlarged, and cannot pump blood efficiently

It can be inherited but doctors believe he developed it as the result of a virus.

The little boy was first diagnosed with bronchitis and it wasn’t until he had a chest X-Ray in Exeter that doctors discovered his condition.

At first, medics thought it could be controlled by drugs but, in September, Ollie started breathing too fast, which made it difficult to feed him.

He was rushed to the Bristol’s Children Hospital where her was placed on a ventilator in ICU. As doctors were discussing a transplant, the toddler went into cardiac arrest.

Since then he has been attached to the Berlin Heart machine, which is controlled by a laptop. It was designed as a bridge to keep the patient alive by doing the heart’s job while it recovers or until a transplant can be carried out.

Ollie’s parents have been keep a vigil by his bedside, but they are not appealing for a heart because for that to happen would take a tragedy elsewhere. They’re just taking it day by day and hoping he’s OK.

There are currently 81 people in the UK in need of a heart transplant, of which eight are under 18 years old.


About the Author

SAHM of 2 boys and founder of, World Traveled Family and The World We Share. When I'm not running around after my boys, I'm looking for our next vacation spot!

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