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“Heart-in-a-Box” can be a lifesaver from a distant donor




Sarah Collins
Health Day Reporter

Thursday, April 8, 2021 (HealthDay News)-A few days after his 74th birthday, Don Stevers received his dream gift-new heart..

“I was born with a very poor heart,” he explained. “As an adult, I decided to get over it and go to the Olympics and become a strong boy. So everything I did was against the doctor’s orders. They don’t run, they don’t do this. But I did, anyway, I turned blue, fainted, and my mother brought me back. “

Stivers continued his high jump at the University of California, Los Angeles. Although he did not participate in the Olympics, he continued his activities for many years, including hiking, softball, running, swimming and cycling.

When he was 58, people from California began to have problems with his energy. On a particularly difficult day, Stylers’ wife drove him to a hospital in Santa Barbara for four hours, where he was diagnosed with ventricular fibrillation.


From that point on, he wore an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator on his chest to help get his heartbeat on track. He experienced a total of six.

“Then the last one, the wire tore the tricuspid valve so badly that the heart became so sad,” Stibers said. “My cardiologist sent me to Cedars Sinai, and I ended up because they couldn’t repair the heart. [going to the cardiology] The team and they said, “In your situation, transplantation is the way to go.”

Land surveyor Stivers was not a typical candidate for a new heart.

Dr. Dominique Emerson, Deputy Director of Cardiac Transplantation and Mechanical Circulation Support at Cedars-Sinai’s Smit Heart Institute, said: As a result, the number of people who can be transplanted can be increased. As a result, there are places where Don was not listed due to age. And because of his size. [he is 6 foot, 4 inches tall], The number of organs he can take is even smaller. “


Fortunately for Stivers, Cedar-Sinai’s Cardiovascular Institute wanted to expand its donor base with the help of new technologies.

Staff preparing for another mission at Van Nuys Airport, California.

TransMedics’ Organ Care System, nicknamed the Heart-in-a-Box, allows organs to live outside the body for extended periods of time. That is, hospitals can scout a wider geographic radius for possible donors.

Traditionally, organs are placed on ice, for example the heart can only survive for about 4 hours. The Heart-in-a-Box, currently under consideration by the US Food and Drug Administration, connects organs to portable devices that mimic how they work in the human body.

Cedars-Sinai participated in several early Heart-in-a-Box trials within the hospital’s normal geographic range. But when the surgeon received a call from Hawaii about the relatively large heart that came from a young athlete, they competed at Van Nuys Airport.

At dinner on March 1st, I got a call to Stivers.


“We found a match,” a hospital employee told him. “By the time the donor’s heart returns, you should be here.”

Stylers and his wife arrived at the hospital at midnight, and surgery began hours later. The procedure was successful and Stevers became the first person to receive a heart from Hawaii on the mainland.

“The surgeon, after putting it in, comes out of the corner of his mouth and says,’Believe me, you have a perfect heart,'” recalls Stylers.

Estimated to have six to twelve months left to live with an old mind, Stevers have exceeded expectations of recovery. He and his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are grateful for the added time.

“I’m looking forward to jumping cliffs, swimming, cycling, hiking and things,” says Stivers. “I’m 74, but I’m 24 in my head.”

Now he has a united heart.

For more information

For more information, see Johns Hopkins Medicine Heart transplant..


Source: Don Stivers, Heart Transplant Recipient, Three Rivers, CA.Dominique Emerson, MD, Heart Transplant and Mechanical Circulation Support, Heart Transplant and Mechanical Circulation Support, Smit Heart Institute, and Co-Director of Surgery, Cardiac Surgery Intensive Care Unit, Cedars Sinai, Los Angeles


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