“I can breathe a lot better now,” says 52 year old Kevin Jennejohn of Hamlin who is the first person in Upstate New York to have the newest ventricular assist device implanted: the Jarvik 2000.
“It feels like a bumble bee inside me.”
“He clearly was not going to survive until the time we could get a donor heart,” says Dr. Todd Massey, the director of the artificial heart program at
Jennejohn had a virus in his heart which caused a cardiomyopathy, turning his heart tissue to scar tissue, reducing his ability to move or breathe.
“If I bent down for any period of time, to tie my sneakers or whatever, I would quite light-headed.”
The Jarvik 2000 is the latest addition of devices designed to help patients such as Kevin live a comfortable life until a donor heart can be found. The Jarvik 2000 is small, comparable to the size of a D-Cell battery and can pump seven liters of blood per minute. The Jarvik 2000 is currently under clinical trials; only 30 devices have been implanted in the
The University of Rochester Medical Center are participants in a clinical trial to get the device FDA-approved.
“It not only gives them a survival benefit but it clearly improves their quality of life,” says Dr. Massey.
The ideal part of the Jarvik 2000 is its durability. There is currently a patient in
“It is a huge leap in technology, to be able to have an artificial heart pump last that long,” says Dr. Massey.
Kevin will be able to go home as early as next week.
“Each day I feel a little bit stronger.”