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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

This man can survive without a heart for over a year

Stan Larkin managed to survive without human heart in his body for more than a year, before he received a donor heart. The 25-year-old men 'wear' artificial heart in a backpack during 24/7 for 555 days.
Stan Larkin with the Freedom® portable driver installed on his body. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1aypuP)
The artificial heart pump blood throughout the body and make Stan alive. The success of this procedure showed that the artificial heart devices can be used to maintain other patients with heart failure in total during their wait for a donor heart.

It started when Stan became the first patient in Michigan that uses artificial heart devices in 2014. Stan and his brother, Dominique diagnosed as teenagers with familial cardiomyopathy, a genetic heart condition that can lead to heart failure without any warning. This condition is one of the main causes of death in athletes.

After years of waiting for a donor heart and never can be, Stan and his brother eventually have to be willing to lose their hearts and replaced by an artificial heart device known as 'SynCardia.'

"Conditions are both very severe and when we first take care of them in intensive care units (ICU)," said Jonathan Haft, a surgeon in University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center who handles transplants for Stan and Dominique.

Team doctors want both received the heart transplants, "But we were not sure we had enough time. Conditions unique anatomy on both  the commonly used technology was useless," he continued.

Devices such as implantable defibrillators can help the patients with partial heart failure, but can not help patients of heart failure in total.

Dominique just need to use the technology for heart failure in total for several weeks before finally getting a heart transplant. But Stan had to wait until more than a year. Instead of remain in the hospital, he was fitted with the Freedom® portable driver so he could go home in the meantime.

At that time, how many things he could do with that device. The portable device is shaped backpack weighs of 6 kg which is connected to the vascular system of the patient, to continue to pump oxygenated blood throughout the body.

As quoted of Science Alert, using a portable device was not easy, Stan complained not being able to hold his daughters or give them piggy back rides. But he managed to continue playing basketball! The real surprise for the doctors who treated him.

"The device was not designed to be used while playing basketball," says Haft. He then continued, "Stan pushed the envelope with this technology. He really thrived on the device."

Finally, Stan received a donor heart on May 9, 2016, and has now fully recovered. He shares his story, which he described as "emotional rollercoaster" with an emphasis on increasing awareness about 5.7 million Americans are living with heart failure and the need for heart donors.
"You're heroes to all of us," David J. Pinsky, director of the Frankel Cardiovascular Centre, said of Stan and Dominique. "The fact that you take your story public and allow us to teach others makes a difference. You'll make a difference for a lot of patients. You'll make a difference to the doctors of the future. We thank you for allowing us to share your story and your bravery in sharing it."  *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | SCIENCE ALERT]
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