Who Is The Youngest Guinness World Record Holder?

Though it is not unusual to find child prodigies in the list of Guinness World Record holders, the youngest person to earn the title wasn't even born when he received the honor. According to the official Guinness World Records website, the youngest record holder, Tucker Roussin, was just 24 weeks old and still in the womb when he became the youngest person ever to undergo open-heart surgery in 2013. He was officially born 14 weeks after the procedure.

Even though the prenatal surgery had never been successfully performed before, doctors deemed the risky operation necessary after they discovered that Tucker had fetal pericardial teratoma, an extremely rare tumor that grows on the sac lining of the heart. Though Tucker's mother, Katie, was only 20 weeks pregnant, Tucker's tumor had grown so large that it was almost the size of his heart. Moreover, the tumor was growing so rapidly that doctors estimated Tucker had only one more week to live.

Due to both the urgency and the riskiness of the procedure, Tucker's parents went to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), one of the few places that had a medical team with the experience and resources to attempt the operation. Surgeons at CHOP had already successfully performed around 1,350 similar in utero operations.

The operation was not smooth sailing

Since Tucker wasn't born yet, doctors had to figure out a way to access his chest cavity while keeping most of his body in the womb. They did this by creating a small insertion in Katie's uterus and pulling out Tucker's chest and arm for an IV drip. His head remained inside the placenta the entire time.

"I'm just there going 'wow, this is unbelievable,'" recalled cardiothoracic surgeon J. William Gaynor, who removed the tumor, per The Philadelphia Inquirer

That said, the procedure was not without its moments of panic. At one point, Tucker's heart began to beat erratically and doctors were forced to pump blood into the organ. However, they were eventually successful and Tucker was safely delivered a little more than three months after the procedure.

Though the right side of Tucker's heart is slightly smaller than average, he is otherwise a completely normal boy with no known lasting issues from the operation. Doctors are still keeping an eye on the now eight-year-old, however, both as a precaution and as a way to learn more about the operation. "There's so much we still don't know. He's the first baby to survive in utero surgery for this condition, so we'll be following him closely as he grows up . ...  We've learned so much from Tucker — and he still has much to teach us," explained Dr. Holly Hendrick, who had led the surgical team.