25-year-old man kept alive with an artificial heart in backpack finally receives transplant

A Michigan 25 year old has finally received a heart transplant after a radical artificial heart in a backpack kept him alive for a record-breaking 17 months.

The first patient in Michigan ever discharged with a SynCardia temporary total artificial heart in 2014, Stan Larkin was back at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center last month for a heart transplant.

His brother also relied on the device to keep him alive – but received his transplant sooner.

Stan Larkin, a Michigan 25 year old has finally received a heart transplant after a radical artificial heart in a backpack kept him alive for a record-breaking 17 months.

‘It was an emotional rollercoaster,’ Larkin, 25, said at a news conference when he described living with the total artificial heart that was implanted to keep him alive until a donor heart became available.

‘I got the transplant two weeks ago and I feel like I could take a jog as we speak.

‘I want to thank the donor who gave themselves for me.

‘ I’d like to meet their family one day. Hopefully they’d want to meet me.’

With the total artificial heart there are two tubes that exit the body, and those tubes have to be connected to a machine that can deliver compressed air into the ventricles to allow blood to be pumped through the body.

Rather than stay in the hospital, Larkin used a wearable, 13.5 pound Freedom portable driver to keep the artificial heart going.

Stan’s older brother Dominique also relied on a similar device before a heart transplant in 2015.

The brothers were diagnosed as teenagers with familial cardiomyopathy, a type of heart failure that can strike seemingly healthy people without warning.

It’s linked to a leading cause of sudden death among athletes.

The surgery performed by Jonathan Haft, M.D. comes after living more than a year without a human heart and relying on a heart device he carried in a backpack.

Dominique Larkin, left, and brother Stan Larkin, survived the wait for organ donation with total artificial hearts implanted at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center.

‘They were both very, very ill when we first met them in our intensive care units,’ says Haft, associate professor of cardiac surgery.

‘We wanted to get them heart transplants, but we didn’t think we had enough time. 

‘There’s just something about their unique anatomic situation where other technology wasn’t going to work.’

With the total artificial heart there are two tubes that exit the body, and those tubes have to be connected to a machine that can deliver compressed air into the ventricles to allow blood to be pumped through the body.

The temporary total artificial heart is used when both sides of the heart fail, and more common heart-supporting devices are not adequate to keep patients alive.

Some parts of the Total Artificial Heart have a 50-year working life, although patients are generally expected to use it for up to two years – during which it will ‘beat’ more than 200million times.

The rucksack contained a 14-pound battery powered pump that allowed him to leave the house for three-hour periods at a time.

Its US makers warn that using it more than two years because of the risk of blood clots building up.

Rather than stay in the hospital, Larkin used a wearable, 13.5 pound Freedom portable driver to keep the artificial heart going.

‘He really thrived on the device,’ Haft said looking at a photo of Stan on a basketball court. ‘This wasn’t made for pick-up basketball,’ he joked.

‘Stan pushed the envelope with this technology.’

As Haft teaches at the University of Michigan Medical School, the brothers have joined him to share the impact that circulatory support can have on those with end-stage heart failure.

Of the 5.7 million Americans living with heart failure, about 10 percent have advanced heart failure, according to the American Heart Association.

Source: The DailyMail

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