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Myocarditis can attack hearts without warning
Date:11/12/2010

supportin effect an artificial-heart-like devicewas his only hope.

Edwin C. McGee, Jr. MD, surgical director for the Bluhm Institute's heart transplant and assist device program was Armstrong's cardiac surgeon. Although Armstrong ultimately required heart transplant, in July he received life-saving intervention where two HeartWare ventricular assist devices (VAD) were implanted onto both ventricles of his heart as a "bridge to transplant", sustaining heart function until a heart became available. This was the first time anywhere in North Americaand to date the onlyinstance of using the small VADs in a biventricular configurationtwo VADs instead of oneimplanted on a single heart. This particular device is one of the smallest, full-support experimental VADs currently available for study in humans in the U.S.

This past Oct. 15, Armstrong received a heart transplant. The American Heart Association estimates that an average of 300,000 people die every year from heart failure; 10,000 of them qualify for heart transplant, but only 2000 cardiac transplants occur in the US each year due to lack of organs. Assist devices such as what Armstrong received are becoming an increasingly important therapy to help individuals with advanced heart failure.

"I may never know why or how I contracted the myocarditis that destroyed my heart," Armstrong said. "But I know I wouldn't be here if Northwestern's team hadn't acted as fast as they did to save my life."


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Contact: Kris Lathan
klathan@nmh.org
312-926-7432
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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