Total Artificial Heart Recipient Heads Home for the Holidays with New Donor Heart & Kidney
Husband and Wife's New Year's Resolutions: Become Advocates for Organ Donation, Meet the Donor Family and Inspire Love and Peace Amongst Others
TUCSON, Ariz. – Dec. 15, 2011 – Last month, with the holiday season just around the corner, Jennifer Kliesing was preparing to give her husband the ultimate gift: one of her kidneys. In June, her husband Jeremiah had suffered two heart attacks and was subsequently implanted with the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart at Texas Heart Institute (THI) at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston. When Jeremiah's kidney function had not returned after several months, Jennifer had been tested and approved as a match for her husband. However, on Nov. 11, a matching donor heart and kidney became available, and Jeremiah received the dual transplant he had been waiting for.
"I know every wife says she loves her husband, but Jeremiah and I have always had something extra," Jennifer wrote in an email to SynCardia after her husband received the Total Artificial Heart. "I was terrified several times that I would go through the rest of my life without him, and SynCardia let him live... he's thrilled to be here."
Jeremiah suffered his first heart attack at home on June 5, and was admitted to the local VA hospital. Doctors told him the heart attack had caused so much damage that doing a bypass was no longer an option. Five days later, he suffered a second heart attack in the hospital and would've died if not for 20 people spending a total of five hours doing CPR to keep him alive. Clinging to life, Jeremiah was transferred to THI, where he was sedated, intubated, on biventricular support and undergoing dialysis. To save Jeremiah's life, on July 24, THI doctors implanted SynCardia's Total Artificial Heart to bridge him to a heart transplant.
"We are thankful for each other," said Jennifer. "We have each enriched the other's life by being a constant source of support during rough times and a constant source of joy all the time. We are thankful for God who is The Third in our marriage, and wraps his arms around us both. We are profoundly thankful for friends and family and medical staff worldwide for ushering in all manner of technology and wisdom that saved Jeremiah's life, and supported us both with attention and concern, food and money, and thousands of prayers."
Jeremiah was discharged from the hospital with his new donor heart and kidney on Nov. 29, 2011. For the holidays, the couple is planning on hosting a small gathering with close family at their home on Christmas Eve, and a quiet movie marathon on Christmas Day. Jennifer says their New Year's resolutions for 2012 are to be advocates for organ donation, to seek a meeting with their donor family and to inspire as many folks as possible to love each other and be peaceful towards one another.
About SynCardia Systems, LLC
SynCardia Systems, LLC in Tucson, Ariz., is the privately-held manufacturer of the world's first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE approved Total Artificial Heart. For people suffering from end-stage heart failure affecting both sides of the heart (biventricular failure), the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart is used as a bridge to transplant, helping them survive until a matching donor heart becomes available. SynCardia also manufactures the Freedom® portable driver, which powers the temporary Total Artificial Heart and allows clinically stable patients to be discharged from the hospital to enjoy life at home while they wait for a heart transplant.
Janelle Drumwright, email@example.com, (520) 547-7463