08/08/2012 02:42 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Albert Tansey, Toddler With Blocked Artery, Gets Blood Clot Hoovered In History-Making Operation

A 2-year-old boy has made medical history. When doctors opted to use a mini-vacuum, a device regularly used on adult cardiac patients, to suck out a life-threatening blood clot from Albert Tansey's heart, he became the first child in the world to undergo the procedure.

The toddler, a blonde-haired boy from Burbage in Leicestershire, is now recuperating at home after surgeons sucked the blockage from his heart, restoring blood flow and saving his life.

"The doctors were so excited. They were all just amazed. They said it’s never been done before on a child. There are no words to explain how we feel about them and all the staff at the hospital," Albert's mother Annita, 37, told the Daily Mail. "They have saved his life. It’s lovely he’s back home and we can be a family again."

Albert, the youngest of four children of Annita and Adam Tansey, a 38-year-old insurance broker, was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a congenital condition in which the left side of the heart fails to develop. He underwent open heart surgery at one week and again at nine months to repair the damaged organ.

All was going fine until a month ago when the boy suddenly experienced chest pains and collapsed. He was rushed to nearby Glenfield Hospital where doctors diagnosed him as having a heart attack, a rarity for someone so young. After stabilizing the boy, they told his parents that Albert might need a heart transplant.

During a risky examination, though, doctors discovered the blood clot. They immediately called in Dr. Albert Alahmar, a cardiologist who usually treats adults. He and other surgeons decided to perform a percutaneous coronary intervention, a procedure in which the clot is literally sucked out of the heart.

Albert’s heart function immediately improved and he was back home less than two weeks later.

Now that doctors have saved their son, the Tanseys are focusing on another cause: to save children's heart surgery at the hospital after a national review panel decided to shut down the unit and move it farther away.

This is a video interview with the Tanseys produced by Leicester Hospitals:

Boy Has Life-Threatening Clot Vacuumed Out Of His Heart