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News Update: After 555 Days On The SynCardia Artificial Heart, Stan Larkin Is Now At Home With His Donor Heart

TUCSON, Ariz., June 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- On June 10, 2016, Stan Larkin, 25, was discharged from the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center with a donor heart after living with the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart for 18 months, according to a University of Michigan spokesperson.

"It (the SynCardia Artificial Heart) brought my life back—to make me as healthy as I am now," Stan said at a May 26, 2016 University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center press conference.

Stan Larkin lived for 555 days with the SynCardia Artificial Heart while he waited for a donor heart transplant. Photo courtesy of the University of Michigan Health System.
Stan Larkin lived for 555 days with the SynCardia Artificial Heart while he waited for a donor heart transplant. Photo courtesy of the University of Michigan Health System.

Follow the Larkin brothers' journey from heart disease to SynCardia Hearts to donor hearts.

"I'm ready to go to Michigan's Adventure to celebrate my daughter's birthday in July," Stan was quoted saying in an Ann Arbor News article. "I think I'm going to have more fun than she is," he added.

Stan and his brother, Domonique, both had a life-threatening hereditary heart condition: arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia, or ARVD, a disease that causes irregular heart rhythms and is a leading cause of sudden death among young athletes. It is estimated to affect one in every 1,000 to 1,250 people.

Stan was admitted to the Frankel Cardiovascular Center where cardiac surgeon Jonathan Haft, M.D., discussed options for treating his end-stage heart failure.

"We felt like the best option for him would've been heart transplantation," Haft told the Ann Arbor News, "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."

Stan received his SynCardia Artificial Heart November 7, 2014. He was discharged from the hospital in December to wait for his donor heart at his Ypsilanti home. Stan was able to get back to playing pickup basketball, carrying the 13.5-pound Freedom® portable driver in his backpack.

The SynCardia Heart provides immediate, safe blood flow of up to 9.5 liters per minute through each ventricle, more than what's typically pumped through the body by a healthy heart and closer to what an athlete's heart pumps.

At the press conference, Haft showed a picture of a muscular, smiling Stan sitting on a basketball, the Freedom® portable driver in his backpack. "See how he looked (with) his artificial heart at home. That is how he looked a week after his implant. He just really thrived on the device," Haft said.

Stan's brother, Domonique, received his SynCardia Heart on December 11, 2014. On January 18, 2015, he received his Freedom® portable driver and was soon to be discharged when he received a matching donor heart transplant January 23, 2015.

The SynCardia Heart and its direct predecessors are the most used artificial hearts in the world. Among 13 artificial heart designs implanted into humans, the SynCardia Hearts account for 96% of all implants and 98% of patient years of support on the devices.

SynCardia Systems, Inc. manufactures two sizes of artificial hearts. Both the 70cc and 50cc SynCardia Hearts are approved for use in the European Union and Canada. The 50cc heart is in an FDA-approved clinical study. Together, the two sizes are designed to make SynCardia Artificial Heart technology available to almost all adults and many adolescents. (Caution-In the United States, the 50cc SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart is an investigational device, limited by United States law to investigational use.)

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About the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart
SynCardia Systems, Inc. in Tucson, Arizona is a medical technology company focused on developing and manufacturing the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart. The SynCardia TAH-t is an implantable system designed to assume the full function of a failed human heart in patients suffering from end-stage biventricular (both sides) heart failure.

The SynCardia TAH-t is the only artificial heart that is commercially available in the United States, European Union and Canada for use as a bridge to donor heart transplantation.

More than 1,600 implants of the SynCardia Artificial Heart account for over 540 patient years of life on the device. Since January 2012 more than 600 SynCardia Hearts have been implanted.

The youngest patient to receive a SynCardia Artificial Heart was 9 years old; the oldest was 80 years old. The longest a patient has lived with a SynCardia Heart and received a successful donor heart transplant was nearly four years (1,373 days).

SynCardia Systems also manufactures the Freedom® portable driver, which powers the hearts while allowing clinically stable patients to be discharged from the hospital and live at home and in their communities. The Freedom® portable driver has been used by more than 280 patients, accounting for over 190 patient years of support.

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