We’ve seen a million reruns of Grey’s Anatomy, but when it comes down to the real world, life is really tough.
25-year-old Stan Larkin was diagnosed with familial cardiomyopathy, a condition that leads to heart failure.
His brother was diagnosed with the same, however Stan’s situation was worse at the time. “They were both very, very ill when we first met them in our intensive care units,” said Jonathan Haft, University of Michigan associate professor of cardiac surgery, and the surgeon who performed both procedures on Larkin.
“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.
Artificial heart bridge
Since a heart transplant was out of the question, so they connected Stan to a portable machine that performed the functions of a heart and had to be carried in a backpack.
The SynCardia device is 6 kgs, and pumps oxygen through the body via a connection with the vascular system.
Dominique was placed with a donor within weeks and had a successful surgery. But Stan waited 555 days – doctors were amazed at how long he managed to carry around his artificial heart everywhere, even to a game of pickup basketball. Stan received a new heart last month, and has made full recovery.