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Total Artificial Heart Patient Receives Donor Heart 15 Years After Decision to Donate Wife's Organs
Date:2/15/2012

TUCSON, Ariz., Feb. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Gregory Welsh, 47, is a compelling example of the life-changing importance of organ donation. Following a car accident in 1996, he made the decision to donate his wife's organs in hopes of helping others. Fifteen years later, Mr. Welsh's gift came full circle when he received a donor heart transplant after 120 days of life with the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120215/LA53807)

"It's a miracle I got this heart and I'm going to do everything I can to take care of it," said Mr. Welsh. "I got a second chance and that means something to me."

On Jan. 14, 2011, Mr. Welsh went to his local urgent care center with flu-like symptoms. Medical staff discovered he had arrhythmias and a resting heart rate of 190. He was immediately taken to the nearest emergency room by ambulance, but 15 minutes after his arrival, Mr. Welsh went into cardiac arrest.

"I woke up 10 days later with a SynCardia Total Artificial Heart," said Mr. Welsh. "Doctors told me I'd had a major blockage in all four of my heart chambers and had suffered a heart attack. Only about 20 percent of my heart was working."

After a month of recovery from his implant surgery, Mr. Welsh's doctors offered him the opportunity to switch from the 418-pound "Big Blue" hospital driver that powered his Total Artificial Heart to the 13.5-pound Freedom® portable driver. This smaller, wearable power supply, which is currently undergoing an FDA clinical study, allowed him to be discharged from the hospital to wait for a matching donor heart at home on Feb. 18, 2011.

"Life at home was really very good," said Mr. Welsh. "
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SOURCE SynCardia Systems, Inc.
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