When she was 14 weeks old, Kirsty Sanderson had to be resuscitated eight times during a five-hour surgery to repair defective arteries and a hole in her heart.
Kirsty, of Rushden, Northants, England, was fitted with the world’s smallest pacemaker during that surgery, England’s Daily Express reported Wednesday.
In fact, the pacemaker was about the size of a coin, and doctors weren’t sure she would survive.
During the operation, Kirsty’s heart stopped eight times. But today the teenager is looking forward to her 16th birthday.
"There’s barely a day that goes by when I don’t think about how lucky I am to be alive," Kirsty told the Daily Express. "I was in and out of the hospital a lot growing up, but I wasn’t angry about it. I just accepted it. My life is normal. I can’t play much sport, but other than that, I can do everything else."
Kirsty had new pacemakers installed at the ages of 2 and 8. In August she will have a fourth pacemaker installed.
Doctors said she will need the device replaced every eight to 10 years.
"We’re very proud of her," said Kirsty’s mother, Becky Neal, 33. "We hope our story offers hope to other families facing similar problems."