Former SynCardia Total Artificial Heart Patient Rides in Rose Parade

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Former SynCardia Total Artificial Heart Patient Rides in Rose Parade

Former NHL player Gates Orlando will appear on the Donate Life entry as a donor heart recipient after he was bridged to transplant with the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart.
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Former @SynCardia #ArtificialHeart patient #GatesOrlando to ride in the New Year's #RoseParade #DonateLife float
Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 11:25am

TUCSON, Ariz., December 16, 2014 /3BL Media/ – A former NHL player who was supported by the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart before receiving his donor heart transplant will ride in the Rose Parade New Year’s Day.

Gaetano “Gates” Orlando, who played with the Buffalo Sabres in the National Hockey League, received the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart implant April 4, 2012, and was bridged to a donor heart transplant 10 months later.

Read Gaetano "Gates" Orlando's journey from heart failure to SynCardia Total Artificial Heart implant to heart donor advocate.

Orlando will be among dozens of organ donors and recipients accompanying the Donate Life Rose Parade Float titled “The Never-Ending Story.” A floragraph of his heart donor, Paul Guyette, will be part of the float. Laurie LoMonaco, a kidney donor who inspired her friend Guyette to become an organ donor, will walk alongside the entry.

Orlando 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 at the University of Rochester Medical Center placed him on ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) that took over his heart and lung functions.

Surgeons then implanted the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart. Similar to a heart transplant, the SynCardia Heart eliminates the source of end-stage biventricular heart failure in which the heart’s two ventricles no longer can pump enough blood through the body for the patient to survive.

Orlando was the first person in upstate New York to receive the SynCardia Heart, which is used as a bridge to transplant. He received his donor heart February 4, 2013.

Orlando, 52, is now a talent scout for the New Jersey Devils and donates his time encouraging people to register to donate their organs.

“I am blessed and grateful to have been given the gift of life,” Gates tells people. “Please consider becoming an organ donor.”

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About the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart
SynCardia Systems, Inc. in Tucson, Arizona is the privately-held owner and manufacturer of the world's first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE approved Total Artificial Heart for use as a bridge to transplant for people suffering from end-stage biventricular heart failure in which both ventricles can no longer pump enough blood for a person to survive.

More than 1,350 implants of the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart accounts for over 400 patient years of life on the device. Since January 2011 more than 400 SynCardia Hearts have been implanted.

The youngest patient to receive a SynCardia Heart was 9 years old; the oldest was 76 years old. The longest a patient has lived with a SynCardia Heart was nearly four years (1,374 days) before receiving a successful donor heart transplant Sept. 11, 2011.

SynCardia Systems also manufactures the Freedom® portable driver, which powers the SynCardia Heart while allowing clinically stable patients to leave the hospital to live at home and in their communities. The wearable Freedom driver has been used by more than 200 patients, accounting for over 120 years of support.


Don Isaacs
+1 (520) 955-0660
SynCardia Systems, Inc.
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