Check Your Health | Stories - Artificial Heart Program
Wednesday, September 4 2013, 03:10 PM MDT
Artificial Heart Program
By: Carla Pruitt

(KUTV) You may have heard Dylan Peterson’s story. He was born with a weak heart more than 20 years ago. Medications would keep his weak heart beating for most of his life. But when he was 19-years-old, Dylan went into cardiac arrest. Doctors realized Dylan’s heart was failing. He needed  a transplant and in order to keep him alive until a heart was available, Dylan received an artificial heart.
“People can actually live on that for years.” Doctor Deborah Budge was one of the doctors who oversaw Dylan’s care at Intermountain Medical Center. She says the artificial heart does the work of a normal heart. It pumps blood to vital organs, until a patient can get a new heart. “Nowadays, more and more people need some kind of mechanical or machine support just because it takes so long to find a suitable donor.”

Dylan had to remain in the hospital while he waited for a transplant. He spent more than 200 days hooked up to machines that were attached to the artificial heart. Then one day, his doctors got the call that a heart was available. “Every day, you were hoping and finally it happened,” said Peterson. “It was great. It was awesome. It almost felt like it wasn’t going to come.”

3-years have passed since Dylan got a heart transplant. He takes medications every day to keep his body from rejecting the new heart. A small price, he says, for a second chance at life. “I feel good. Everything is better. Everything I can do now is way better than I could do with my old heart.”

In May, Intermountain Medical Center marked the 20th anniversary of its artificial heart program. Surgeons from Intermountain have implanted more than 500 devices. According to its website, Intermountain Medical Center offers the following devices through its Heart Institute:
•    HeartMate II (Left Ventricular Assist Device)
•    HeartWare HVAD (Left Ventricular Assist Device, Investigational, Destination Therapy Only)
•    CardioWest Total Artificial Heart
•    Thoratec PVAD (Paracorporeal Ventricular Assist Device)
•    Impella (Catheter-Based Assist Device)
•    TandemHeart (Percutaneous Ventricular Assist Device)
•    Temporary Centrifugal VADs (used alone and in Cardiopulmonary Support)
For more information, visit:

(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group.) Artificial Heart Program

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