Man Survived 17 Months Without Human Heart, Using Device In Backpack

According to the American Heart Association, each year, thousands of people die while waiting for needed donated organs. But a man in Michigan was able to survive almost 2 years without a human heart, carrying an artificial device in a backpack.

Stan Larkin, who is now 25, was born with familial cardiomyopathy, a condition that rendered his own vital organ inoperable. When he arrived for treatment at the University of Michigan about a year and a half ago, he was in extremely poor condition. The goal was to find him a heart transplant, but doctors were concerned he didn’t have enough time.

University of Michigan

In December of 2014, doctors outfitted him with an artificial heart and a SynCardia Freedom Portable Driver. The roughly 13-pound device took over the blood pumping duties until a transplant was an option.

Larkin finally got the donated heart he’d been waiting for in May 2016. Now, he’s hoping to meet the donor’s family and thank them for ultimately saving his life.

He said in a recent press conference: “It was an emotional rollercoaster… I want to thank the donor who gave themselves for me. I’d like to meet their family one day.”

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