Michigan Man First in State to be Discharged from the Hospital without a Human Heart
Two Michigan brothers with the same life-threatening genetic heart disease get second chances at life through the use of the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart.
TUCSON, Ariz. – Jan 21, 2015 – Brothers Stan and Domonique Larkin, who inherited the same life-threatening genetic heart disease, are benefiting from the same life-saving therapy from the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center: the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart.
Stan Larkin, 24, received the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart on November 7, 2014. On December 23, 2014, in stable condition, he became the first patient in Michigan to be discharged from the hospital without a human heart.
The wearable Freedom® portable driver that powers the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart gave Stan the increased mobility to go home in time to spend Christmas with his family.
His brother, 23-year-old Domonique Larkin, received the SynCardia Heart on December 11, 2014 and is progressing well at the same hospital.
Stan and Domonique suffer from an inherited heart condition called arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia, or ARVD, a disease that causes irregular heart rhythms. It is a leading cause of sudden death among young athletes.
At age 16, Stan collapsed at a basketball game in 2007. It was the first fainting spell he experienced, according to a story published in the Ann Arbor News, part of the MLive Media Group in Michigan.
Following medical tests, surgeons implanted a defibrillator to help regulate Stan’s heart rhythm. But over time his condition continued deteriorated as his body retained fluid at an alarming rate. Physicians determined that he would need a heart transplant to live.
In October 2014, Stan was admitted to the U-M Cardiovascular Center where cardiac surgeon Dr. Jonathan Haft, M.D., discussed options for treating end-stage heart failure.
“We felt like the best option for him would’ve been heart transplantation, but we also felt that his condition was changing very quickly and we did not think he would survive long enough until a suitable heart was identified for him,” Haft told the newspaper.
On November 7, 2014, doctors removed his failed heart and implanted the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart.
The SynCardia Total Artificial Heart is the only approved device that eliminates the source of end-stage biventricular (both sides) heart failure in which the ventricles no longer can pump enough blood for the patient to survive.
Similar to a heart transplant, the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart replaces the native heart’s two failed ventricles and four heart valves.
“After I got it I felt so much better,” Stan says in a U-M Health System video. “I feel like before I ever had any heart problems and I feel like I could do whatever I want.”
Once Stan became clinically stable, he was switched from a 418-pound hospital driver to the 13.5-pound Freedom® portable driver that powers the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart with precisely calibrated pulses of air.
Carried in a backpack or shoulder bag, the Freedom portable driver gives patients nearly limitless mobility. It allows them to exercise, cook their meals, sleep comfortably in their own beds and socialize in their community, all of which help get them in better shape for their matching donor heart transplants.
It turned out that Domonique had the same hereditary heart condition and also required a SynCardia Total Artificial Heart implant to save his life. When his condition becomes clinically stable, he will also receive a Freedom portable driver and return home to wait for a matching donor heart like his brother.
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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.
Janelle Drumwright, firstname.lastname@example.org, (520) 547-7463