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Man Lived For 555 Days Without A Heart

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Man Lived For 555 Days Without A Heart

A man managed to survive for more than a year without a heart, even managing to play sports with his friends:

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Stan Larkin was 25 when he received his new heart in 2016, but almost two years earlier, his SyncArdia device was installed while he waited for a donor.

Larkin had a 13 pound 'artificial heart' strapped to his back, which doctors at the University of Michigan found amazing.

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The device was connected up to him for 555 days straight

Larkin told Science Daily at the time: "It was an emotional rollercoaster.

"I got the transplant two weeks ago and I feel like I could take a jog as we speak. I want to thank the donor who gave themselves for me. I'd like to meet their family one day. Hopefully they'd want to meet me."

Credit: Michigan Medicine
Credit: Michigan Medicine
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Stan's older sibling Dominique also had a transplant in 2015. The brothers had familial cardiomyopathy, which is a sort of heart failure that can strike without warning, to even the most healthy people.

It's also linked sudden death among athletes.

Jonathan Haft, an associate professor of cardiac surgery who performed the surgery, said: "They were both very, very ill when we first met them in our intensive care units.

"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."

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The temporary total artificial heart (TAH) is used when the heart fails on both sides. Unlike normal heart devices - which generally deal with just one side of the heart - it is designed to work with both.

Often, people will need to stay in hospital so they can be monitored while waiting for a heart transplant, but Larkin didn't have to.

Credit: Michigan Medicine
Credit: Michigan Medicine

Instead, he used the Freedom portable driver, which he could wear in a backpack, in order to keep his heart going.

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Stan said at a University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center press conference in 2016: "It [the SynCardia Artificial Heart] brought my life back-to make me as healthy as I am now."

Stan was quoted saying in an Ann Arbor News article: "I'm ready to go to Michigan's Adventure to celebrate my daughter's birthday in July.

"I think I'm going to have more fun than she is."

"He really thrived on the device," Haft said looking at a photo of Stan on a basketball court.

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"This wasn't made for pick-up basketball.

"Stan pushed the envelope with this technology."

Featured Image Credit: Michigan Medicine

Topics: Science, US News, Technology, Health

Amelia Ward
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