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Patient Stories

Johnny Lemucchi

Johnny Lemucchi

Johnny, 56, was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy after suffering a “widowmaker” heart attack. A subsequent angiogram showed that his ejection fraction was only 14 percent. Doctors tried a number of interventions to treat his heart failure, including stents and an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), but a few weeks later, he went into cardiac arrest. Read Johnny's story
Jaheim Whigham

Jaheim Whigham

Jaheim, 11, was born with a congenital heart defect called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, where the heart has just one working chamber. He received his first heart transplant in 2012. However, during a routine check-up in October 2016, tests revealed he was in heart failure because of donor heart rejection. Read Jaheim's story
Drew Weaver

Drew Weaver

Drew was born with a congenitally malformed aortic valve, known as bicuspid aortic valve disease. In October 2012, he underwent surgery at a local hospital to have his aorta and aortic valve replaced, but after the surgery, his heart wouldn't start beating again... Read Drew's story
Marcela Padilla

Marcela Padilla

At age 20, Marcela gave birth to her son Santiago, but four days later, began to experience shortness of breath and fatigue. The pregnancy may have strained her heart, which was already weak due to a congenital condition, and she was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy... Read Marcela's story
Danielle Weston

Danielle Weston

Danielle was born with Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects connective tissue. In 2011, doctors discovered a massive infection of her heart that had led to endocarditis. Surgeons hoped to repair the damage to her heart in the operating room, but while sedated and waiting for the surgery to begin, Danielle’s heart stopped... Read Danielle's story
Stan Larkin

Stan Larkin

Stan had a life-threatening hereditary heart condition called arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD), a disease that causes irregular heart rhythms and is a leading cause of sudden death among young athletes. The best option for Stan was a heart transplant, but doctors feared he wouldn't survive long enough to receive a donor heart... Read Stan's story
Bob Coyle

Bob Coyle

Bob was in and out of hospitals for close to two decades trying to manage his heart failure, caused by cardiomyopathy. He eventually developed atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter. Over time, he was implanted with five types of pacemakers/defibrillators. In February 2013, his heart began to fail rapidly and he was admitted to the hospital... Read Bob's story
Randy Shepherd

Randy Shepherd

As a teenager, Randy twice contracted rheumatic fever, which damaged his heart. However, he continued to enjoy sports and recreation throughout his life. But by June 2013, his failing heart could no longer support him... Read Randy's story
Jim LaFontaine

Jim LaFontaine

Jim was diagnosed with a heart murmur at age 30. Later, doctors also discovered that he was born with a bicuspid aortic valve. Medication and an aortic valve replacement stabilized his condition for 18 years, until he developed ventricular tachycardia and required a pacemaker and defibrillator. By 2012, his heart had weakened and he found himself struggling to breathe... Read Jim's story
Charles Okeke

Charles Okeke

Charles had received a heart transplant at age 30, but rejected the donor heart 10 years later. Due to his previous transplant, Charles's body produced antibodies that made it challenging for him to receive a matching donor heart. The SynCardia Total Artificial Heart was used to bridge him to a dual heart and kidney transplant. Read Charles' story
Steve Williams

Steve Williams

Steve was diagnosed with left ventricular hypertrophy (enlargement of the left ventricle wall) and cardiomyopathy (weakening of the heart muscle). He went to the hospital several times due to difficulty breathing. During one of those hospital stays, he suffered sudden cardiac arrest and fell into a coma. Read Steve's story
Gates Orlando

Gates Orlando

Gates was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, a rare disease that led to heart failure and caused potentially fatal arrhythmias. He had one of these arrhythmias during a medical procedure to regulate his heart. To save his life, surgeons placed him on ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) that took over his heart and lung functions, then implanted the Total Artificial Heart. Read Gates's story
Jack Jones

Jack Jones

During a vacation with his wife to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary, Jack found himself fighting for his life after suffering a heart attack. Doctors tried angioplasty to open his clogged heart arteries, but it wasn't enough. Read Jack's story
Chris Marshall

Chris Marshall

Chris was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and an irregular heartbeat in 1999, but he continued to live a rugged lifestyle that included hiking and working in the frigid oil fields in the northern tip of Alaska. He thought he was in pretty good shape until he blacked-out one day while walking laps around the ICU. Read Chris's story
Jordan Merecka

Jordan Merecka

Jordan was born with multiple congenital heart defects, including a reversed heart (dextrocardia) and his heart vessels backwards (corrected transposition of the great arteries). While awaiting a transplant, he was admitted to the hospital suffering from end-stage biventricular heart failure. Read Jordan's story
Patrick O'Hara

Patrick O'Hara

Pat suffered from idiopathic hypertrophic subaortic stenosis (IHSS), a genetic condition that had already claimed the life of his brother at age 38. When he was admitted to the hospital, he was told he had only three to four months to live. Read Pat's story
Ronald Fontana

Ronald Fontana

Ronald suffered from cardiomyopathy for decades, but managed his condition with medications, an implantable defibrillator and a pacemaker. Eventually, he also developed ventricular tachycardia, and when his doctors could no longer control his condition, he received the Total Artificial Heart. Read Ronald's story
Bill Wohl

Bill Wohl

Over a period of six months, Bill was in and out of the hospital as his heart began to fail. He was in need of a heart transplant, but too sick to be on the waiting list. With his heart and vital organs failing and no matching donor heart available, doctors decided to implant the Total Artificial Heart to bridge him to a transplant. Read Bill's story
Lexi Henderson

Lexi Henderson

Lexi received her first heart transplant in 2007 when she was only 10 years old. Years later, her donor heart began to fail. Doctors put her on ECMO (extra corporeal membrane oxygenation) to support her failing heart and lungs, but her condition worsened and her other organs began to fail. Read Lexi's story

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