Detroit, MI — Stan Larkin, a 24-year-old man from the Detroit area, was recently sent home from a local hospital with a completely artificial heart, and doctors say he is in great condition. Larkin is the first person in the state of Michigan to walk out of a hospital with such a medical device.
It’s called the Total Artificial Heart (TAH) made by SynCardia, and it is connected to two tubes in his chest that snake out from under his ribs. Those two tubes are connected to a compressor that he carries his backpack. It weighs about 13 pounds. According to USA Today, the technology is extremely revolutionary as it provides him an “ever-present, rhythmic gallop as pulses of precisely calibrated, compressed oxygen are forced into the pneumatic ticker.”
But why does he need it?
At the young age of just 16, Larkin blacked out while playing basketball and was later diagnosed with Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia (ARVD), a dangerous heart condition that causes irregular heart rhythm. ARVD is one of several causes of sudden cardiac death among young adults.
Because of his diagnosis, he had to have a defibrillator implanted into his chest that delivered electrical impulses when ever necessary to keep his heart going. But this only lasted a few years, and soon Larkin’s heart was working at just a 15% capacity.
After being admitted to the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center, doctors had to resort to one of the only options left; They implanted the Total Artificial Heart.
How’s it going so far?
So far, doctors say all is great. Larkin has been going to the mall, going to church, and even visiting his brother in this hospital, who also has a Total Artificial Heart. He too will soon be able to walk out of the hospital with the portable machine.
The only disadvantage, Larkin says, is that the compressor he carries around in his backpack is kind of noisy and it draws attention to him. But its a small price to pay, he says. “I’m happy to explain it to curious passersby.”
For more details about the Total Artificial Heart, visit www.syncardia.com/total-facts/total-artificial-heart-facts.html