07 June 2016

A year and a half with a heart in a backpack

Stan Larkin was discharged from the clinic in 2014 with a fully artificial temporary SynCardia heart. In May, a suitable donor organ was finally selected for him and a successful transplant was performed. This operation was a triumph of attempts to replace a heart that could not function normally with a completely artificial organ, the importance of which is difficult to underestimate against the background of the growing frequency of cardiovascular diseases and the shortage of donor organs.

Stan's older brother Dominic also used SynCardia for a while before he had a donor heart transplant in 2015. Even in adolescence, both brothers were diagnosed with familial cardiomyopathy, a type of heart failure that can unexpectedly affect outwardly healthy people.

According to the doctor who performed the surgery, Jonathan Haft, both brothers were in a very serious condition when he first saw them in the intensive care unit. The doctors wanted to give them a heart transplant, but they didn't have enough time. Therefore, it was decided to use a completely artificial heart, which is used in cases of insufficiency of all parts of the heart and more traditional devices cannot support its vital activity.

The uniqueness of Stan Larkin's case is that instead of staying in the clinic, he constantly carried with him a portable Freedom engine weighing about 7 kg, which ensures the functioning of an artificial heart, for a year and a half.

Doctors note that Stan went beyond the intended capabilities of this device, which, according to Haft, was not intended for the patient to be able to play streetball.


Evgeniya Ryabtseva
Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru based on the materials of the University of Michigan Health System: Brothers celebrate bridge to transplant.


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