Michigan Man First in State to be Discharged from the Hospital Without a Human Heart

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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 2nd chances at life through the use of the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart.
Stan Larkin gets ready to go home without a human heart. Larkin has been discharged from the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center supported by the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart, powered by the Freedom portable driver, which Larkin is holding.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2015 - 11:35am

January 21, 2014 /3BL Media/ - Brothers Stanford and Dominique 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, and 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 Dominique Larkin, received the SynCardia Heart on December 11, 2014 and is progressing well at the same hospital.

Watch Videos and Learn More of Stan and Dominique Larkin's Story

Stan and Dominique 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 Dominique 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.


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 account for over 400 patient years of life on the device. Since January 2010 more than 550 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 be discharged from 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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