A 25-year-old man from America has just received a full heart transplant...but not before surviving for more than a year without a human heart inside his body.
On December of 2014, Stan Larkin was diagnosed with familial cardiomyopathy, a genetic heart condition known to lead to heart failure without warning.
His brother, Dominique, was also diagnosed with the same condition.
Because of limited technology and the lack of donors readily available doctors from the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center opted to give the brothers a SynCardia Total Artificial Heart device.
"They were both very, very ill when we first met them in our intensive care units," says Jonathan Haft, the doctor who was responsible for Stan's operation. "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."
Dominique only needed to use the artificial heart device for a few weeks before receiving a full heart transplant last year. Stan on the other hand had to wait for 555 days, and instead of staying in hospital, he was fitted with a Freedom portable driver so he could go home and join his family.
The portable device came in the form of a 6-kg (13.5 pound) backpack which is connected to the patient's vascular system, to keep oxygenated blood pumping around the body.
But now that that the doctors have finally found a donor for Stan, it’s time for him to finally live his life without having to worry about his condition. An avid basketball player, Stan dreams of playing hoops again with friends, but not before getting used to his new heart.
"I'll probably run a few pick-up games, but not right away," he joked. "I haven't taken a shot yet without the backpack hooked up. I just want to put the heart to use."
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