Total artificial heart keeps advanced heart failure patient going and going

Design advances lead to smaller, more portable ventricular assist devices

Without a human heart, Stanley Larkin has visited a water park this summer and plays basketball with family and friends.

Stan Larkin is back in the game, using a backpack-sized power supply for his total artificial heart.

Stan Larkin is back in the game, using a backpack-sized power supply for his total artificial heart.

He has a total artificial heart which is used when end-stage heart failure affects both sides of the heart and other more common heart-supporting devices are inadequate to keep patients alive.

“The device Stan has is the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart, a mechanical pump to bridge him to transplantation,” says University of Michigan cardiac surgeon Jonathan Haft, M.D.  “He’s still listed for a heart transplant and we hope to transplant him as soon as an organ is available. In the meantime he can be at home, he can be functional, and continue to rehabilitate himself so he’s in the best possible shape when his opportunity comes.”

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