The HeartMate II ventricular assist device implanted in Peter. The HeartMate II ventricular assist device implanted in Peter.

The Transplant Candidate and the Insanity Workout

QP was a 37 year old male who with a 10 year history of an enlarged heart (also known as cardiomyopathy) when he was admitted to Mercy Hospital after 2 weeks of a worsening cough and breathing difficulties. Shortly after arriving at Mercy it became increasingly clear to his doctors that he had severe pump failure.  His blood pressure was 67/40 when Dr. Chad Olinger from the MHVI Heart Failure service first met him. He was in shock.

Dr. Olinger stabilized QP temporarily with special IV infusions to improve the squeeze of his heart and keep up his blood pressure. A special device called a balloon pump was emergently inserted into his aorta to treat his pump failure. However, Dr. Olinger and the heart failure team recognized that QP was rapidly deteriorating, and that he would likely need advanced surgical therapy for heart failure, such as a heart transplant. By the next day he was transferred to Abbott Northwestern Hospital. QP was evaluated by Dr. Katarzyna Hryniewicz-Czeneszew and the Heart Transplant Service who deemed him to be a good transplant candidate, but he would need to receive an artificial heart pump as a bridge to transplant while awaiting his new heart. Three days later QP underwent implant of an artificial heart pump called a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) by Dr. Ben Sun. This device is a mechanical pump which the surgeon sewed onto his weakened heart so that it can do most of the work of moving his blood for him.

 

After two weeks of recovery, QP got stronger and was able to go home. "Dr. Olinger [and the Heart Failure and Transplant teams at Mercy and Abbott] saved my life," QP reflects. "I wouldn’t have survived without their expertise." QP has gotten stronger and stronger since placement of his LVAD. At times, he even brags that he is now able to do the Insanity Workout 5-6 times a week. He is eagerly awaiting for the day he will receive his new heart.

The MHVI Heart Failure service partners with nationally renowned heart transplant centers to deliver advanced surgical therapies such as transplantation and ventricular assist devices to our patients in the communities we serve.