VIDEO: First total artificial heart recipient in US West Coast
Tammy Lumpkins, whose heart was failing despite medication and a pacemaker, was hospitalized in July. Normally, patients like Tammy must remain connected to a 400 pound air compressor that keeps their heart pumping until a donor can be found. However, thanks to a clinical trial headed by Michael Bowdish, assistant professor of surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, Tammy was able to go home with a 13.5 pound compressor. The Freedom portable driver, produced by Tucson-based SynCardia Systems, makes it possible for patients to go home with a miniature compressor. Lumpkins can now walk without becoming tired and no longer has to take diabetes medication.