How do you fancy your chances of survival without a heart? Chances are slim that you would, but Stan Larkin managed it for just over a year.
Larkin, a 25 year old from the US, suffered from familial cardiomyopathy, a form of heart failure that can strike even the healthiest of people without warning. Because of the severity of the disease, Larkin had to have a heart transplant but because donor hearts are scarce a “quick fix” as it were, was needed.
So Larkin’s doctors implanted a SynCardia temporary artificial heart which he could wear on his back. The technology works like a heart and circulates the blood through your body. The cool part about this piece of tech is that when it is paired with a Freedom portable driver, the artificial heart can be worn in a backpack.
The Freedom allowed Larkin to live for 555 days without his heart and not be confined to a hospital bed.
Larkin’s brother, Dominique was also reliant on the portable heart until he received a heart transplant last year.
Speaking about the transplant at a press conference, Doctor Jonathan Haft M.D., who performed the heart transplants on the brothers years after they fell ill, explained why a portable heart was chosen rather than something else.
“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,” Dr. Haft said.
Dr Haft also said that Larkin had thrived on the “heart”, adding that “Stan pushed the envelope with this technology.”
Larkin’s story is unique but there is some real value in the fact that those waiting for a heart transplant don’t have to be confined to a hospital bed while they wait for a donor.
Granted, this technology probably doesn’t come cheap but it’s awesome and while the rest of the world is freaking out about VR PC’s in backpacks its nice to know that there’s a backpack that can help patients survive.
[Source – University of Michigan]