Friday, April 06, 2001

Device buys time for patient while she awaits new heart

By Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A portable mechanical pump has allowed a 21-year-old woman to go home to await a heart transplant after spending nearly six months in University Hospital.

        Summer Collins of Sycamore Township developed cardiomyopathy two years ago after giving birth to her son, Kaleb. Her gradual heart failure forced her to be hospitalized Oct. 10.

        However, she left the hospital Wednesday, nearly three months after surgeons installed a portable left-ventricular assist device called a HeartMate, made by Massachusetts-based Thermo Cardiosystems Inc.

        The HeartMate has allowed Ms. Collins to regain enough strength to endure a transplant operation should a donated heart become available in the next few months, said her cardiologist Dr. Santosh Menon.

        Meanwhile, it allows her to spend time at home with her son.

        “I feel like a different person just with this. It's hard to imagine how it will feel when I get a heart,” Ms. Collins said.


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