A 25 year old man has lived for over a year with no beating human heart – and still managed to play basketball.
Stan Larkin from Michigan, USA spent 550 days totally supported by an artificial heart known as a “Syncardia” – which he carried around in a backpack – after his heart was removed due to the genetic condition Familial Cardiopathy which can cause the heart to stop beating without warning.
“He was very ill when we first met him in our intensive care units,” said the surgeon behind the transplant, Jonathan Haft, from the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Centre. “We wanted to get him a heart transplants, but we didn’t think we had enough time. There’s just something about his unique anatomic situation where other technology wasn’t going to work.”
Stan’s portable heart came in the form of a 6-kg (13.5 pound) backpack that was connected to his vascular system and pumped his blood round his body.
It’s not the easiest of things to wear so Stan’s ability to play sports ,while wearing it, astounded his doctors
“This wasn’t made for pick-up basketball,” said Haft. “Stan pushed the envelope with this technology … He really thrived on the device.”
After over a year of wearing his backpack heart Stan has now been given a full heart transplant.