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Press Release:

"Heart-Less" Politician Goes from Short-Term Survival
to 5th Term in Office with SynCardia Total Artificial Heart

Jack Miller Re-Elected as Chairman of County Board of Supervisors
Using the Freedom® Portable Driver to Power His Total Artificial Heart

On Nov. 8, 2011, SynCardia Total Artificial Heart patient Jack Miller became the first politician in the U.S. to be elected to office without a human heart. On Election Day, he was able to man the polls and interact with voters using the Freedom® portable driver to power his Total Artificial Heart.

TUCSON, Ariz. – Jan. 11, 2012 – Jack Miller, 62, is probably the only politician in America who smiles when people call him "heartless." That's because four months ago, doctors at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Medical Center in Richmond removed his dying heart and replaced it with the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart.

"Golly day, I feel so much better," said Mr. Miller, who received his Total Artificial Heart on Sept. 15, 2011. "It's like my body is reawakening for the first time in 11 years. I'm just amazed. No one will ever know how appreciative I am to be able to wait for my heart transplant at home in my community with my family."

Less than a month after receiving the Total Artificial Heart, on Oct. 14, 2011, Mr. Miller was discharged from the hospital using the Freedom® portable driver to power his Total Artificial Heart. That same day, he and his wife Mary Lou celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary.  

"He is the only boy I ever dated in high school, and I married him soon after we got out of school, and he is my life," Mary Lou said. "I told one of the nurses one day, if something were to happen to him, you would lose a patient. But if something happens to him, for me, I lose everything."

On Nov. 1, 2011, Mr. Miller was able to return to his position as Chairman of the Middlesex County Board of Supervisors and conduct his first meeting with his Total Artificial Heart. Just a week later, on Nov. 8, Mr. Miller was up for re-election.

SynCardia Total Artificial Heart patient Jack Miller was able to enjoy Christmas at home last month with his wife Mary Lou and their grandchildren, 8-year-old Emma and 5-year-old Matthew, while waiting for a matching donor heart.

"I manned the polls on Election Day and interacted with the voters I represent," said Mr. Miller, who was successfully re-elected to his fifth term in office. "We plugged the Freedom driver into my car's cigarette lighter and it worked fine. During this whole process, my Freedom driver allowed me to accomplish my goals. It let the citizens know I was up and active and could continue to serve them."

Mr. Miller was first diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy 11 years ago. Over the years, his heart continued to weaken, and eventually he was implanted with a defibrillator to shock his heart back into rhythm when it became erratic. After a bad episode of shocks from the defibrillator in September 2011, Mr. Miller's heart was barely functioning. To save his life, doctors implanted the Total Artificial Heart to bridge him to a heart transplant.

The Freedom driver is CE approved for use in Europe and undergoing an FDA-approved Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) clinical study in the U.S. Weighing 13.5 pounds, the Freedom driver is the world's first wearable power supply for SynCardia's Total Artificial Heart.

CAUTION – The Freedom portable driver is an investigational device, limited by United States law to investigational use.

News Coverage:
Richmond Times-Dispatch - Heart or not, Middlesex politician keeps on ticking
Naco County News - 'Heartless' Virginia supervisor raises a ruckus

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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.

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SynCardia Contact:
Janelle Drumwright, jdrumwright@syncardia.com, (520) 547-7463

 

 

 

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