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6/8/2016

This25yearoldlivedformorethanayearwithoutaheartScienceAlert

This 25-year-old lived for more than a year


without a heart
Heart in a backpack!
FIONA MACDONALD

6 JUN 2016

A 25-year-old has just received a full heart transplant... but not before surviving
for more than a year without a human heart inside his body.
Instead, Stan Larkin wore an 'arti cial heart' in a backpack 24/7 for 555 days,
which pumped blood around his body and kept him alive. The success of the
procedure suggests that the device could be used to sustain other patients with
total heart failure while they're waiting for a donor.
Back in 2014, Stan became the rst patient in Michigan to be discharged with the
arti cial heart device, which is known as a 'Syncardia'.
He and his brother Dominique had both been diagnosed as teenagers with
familial cardiomyopathy, which is a genetic heart condition that can cause heart
failure without any warning - it's one of the leading causes of death in athletes.
After years on the donor waiting list, Stan - and eventually his younger brother
Dominique - had their hearts removed and were tted with the Syncardia
device.
"They were both very, very ill when we rst met them in our intensive care
units," said the surgeon behind the transplant, Jonathan Haft, from the
University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Centre."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."
While other devices such as implantable de brillators can help with partial heart
failure, Syncardia is used when both sides of the heart fail.
Dominique only needed to use the technology for a few weeks before receiving
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6/8/2016

This25yearoldlivedformorethanayearwithoutaheartScienceAlert

a full heart transplant. But Stan had to wait more than a year, and instead of
staying in hospital, he was tted with theFreedom portable driver so he could
go home in the meantime.
At the time, no one knewhow much he'd be able to do with it.The portable
device comes in the form of a 6-kg (13.5 pound) backpack that's connected to
the patient's vascular system, to keep oxygenated blood pumping around the
body.
It's not the most versatile thing to have on you 24/7, and Stan reported not
being able to hold his daughters or give them piggy back rides.But he did
manage to continue playing basketball - a total surprise to his doctors.
"This wasn't made for pick-up basketball," said Haft."Stan pushed the envelope
with this technology ... He really thrived on the device."
Stan received his donor heart on 9 May 2016, and has now fully recovered from
the procedure. He's shared his story, which he calls an "emotional rollercoaster"
with the press to raise awareness about the 5.7 million other Americans 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 di erence. You'll make a
di erence for a lot of patients. You'll make a di erence to the doctors of the
future. We thank you for allowing us to share your story and your bravery in
sharing it."

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