Kyah was diagnosed with a rare heart condition when she was 10 years old. Only a year ago she suffered a severe heart attack. To keep the teen alive, doctors fabricated a battery operated titanium pump.
The pump simulates a human heart and Kyah must wear it until a heart donor has been found for her.
The pump is operated by a set of batteries that Kyah carries with her in a bag everywhere she goes. The batteries are ‘hard wired’ to the artificial heart pump with a wire going through the teen’s intestines.
The batteries can be charged at home or in a car using a cigarette lighter connector.
Kyah is the first child to survive with a titanium pump. The heart pump had been used to keep adults alive while waiting for a donor heart but never with a child.
Kyah DeSimone was an active girl who loved sports, hip-hop dancing, basketball and fashion. She grew up healthy until she reached her tenth birthday when she suddenly had severe chest pain.
Kyah’s mom rushed with her daughter to emergency services in Boston. There doctors determined that the young girl suffered from a rare heart condition that made her heart beat excessively, weakening it in the process.
In October 2012, Kyah suffered a heart attack while at a sleepover. Doctors at the Boston Chidren’s hospital determined then that Kyah’s heart was too weak and she was in critical condition.
To try and keep the teen alive, doctors resorted to using the Ventricular Assist Device (VAD), which had been used on adults but never before on children.
The VAD is implanted inside the failing human heart and assists by pumping blood through the body better. The pump operates by external batteries.
The VAD is only a temporarily solution intended solely to keep Kyah alive until a donor heart has been found. She will then undergo a heart transplant that hopefully will be successful and give her a new life.