Man’s Real-Life Experiences with the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart Detailed on Social Media Site
In Reddit’s ‘Ask Me Anything’ Section, Randy Shepherd Responds to Hundreds of Questions about His 10-Plus Months with the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart & His Completion of the 4.2-Mile Pat’s Run on April 26, 2014.
TUCSON, Ariz. – May 8, 2014 – Randy Shepherd’s fascinating story of life with a SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart has touched the hearts of many who have found inspiration as well as information on how the world's first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE approved Total Artificial Heart saves lives. The SynCardia Heart is used as a bridge to transplant to a donor heart for patients with end-stage biventricular (both sides) heart failure.
Shepherd, 40, received a SynCardia Total Artificial Heart on June 20, 2013. His heart had been damaged by two bouts of rheumatic fever when he was a child. After receiving the SynCardia Heart, Randy recovered. When his clinical condition stabilized, he was equipped with a Freedom® portable driver that allows SynCardia Heart patients nearly unlimited mobility.
Like a heart transplant, the SynCardia Heart replaces both failing heart ventricles and the four heart valves. It is the only approved device that eliminates the symptoms and source of end-stage biventricular heart failure in which the heart’s ventricles can no longer pump enough blood for the person to survive.
Data published in the New England Journal of Medicine from the 10-year pivotal clinical study that led to FDA approval showed that 79% of patients who received the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart were bridged to transplant. This is the highest bridge to transplant rate for any approved heart device in the world.
Shepherd, a Mesa, Arizona, resident, walked 4.2 miles in the April 26, 2014, Pat’s Run that honors fallen soldier Pat Tillman. Proceeds from the race directly support scholarships for Tillman Military Scholars. Randy became the first person without a human heart to complete the long-distance Tempe, Arizona course. To power his SynCardia Total Artificial Heart, Randy carried the 13.5-pound Freedom portable driver in a backpack.
“I am hoping by next year at Pat’s Run I’ll be running it instead of walking it,” he says.
“And I am hoping to have a donor heart. But if not, I’ll be back there with my
backpack again and I’m going to do it again next year.”
Shepherd says he felt invigorated after the race and already was looking forward. “I am hoping by next year at Pat’s Run I’ll be running it instead of walking it,” he says. “And I am hoping to have a donor heart. But if not, I’ll be back there with my backpack again and I’m going to do it again next year.”
Three days later Shepherd started an “Ask Me Anything” (AMA) interview on Reddit, a social media website. He responded with humor, patience and openness to hundreds of questions and comments. They covered the science of the SynCardia Heart, the philosophy of living without a human heart and the day-to-day practicalities of living with the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart powered by the Freedom portable driver. It provides an insider’s look into what life is like for a SynCardia Heart patient.
While the SynCardia Heart currently is not approved to permanently replace the heart, SynCardia is working with regulatory authorities to study and gain approval for what is called destination therapy so patients who do not qualify for, or want, a donor human heart can live with the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart.
Shepherd, whose Pat’s Run feat also has been the subject of local and national media stories, has inspired some of the interviewers on his AMA to sign up as heart and organ donors. He supports, encourages and consoles those facing medical challenges.
In a response to one comment, Shepherd says: “I have had so many people from whom I have received inspiration. I am glad to think that I could be that for someone else.”
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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 SynCardia 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, firstname.lastname@example.org, (520) 547-7463