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Device helps keep heart pumping

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The new device has already lengthened lives. The new device has already lengthened lives.

By Melissa Maynarich, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- State-of-the-art technology for heart disease patients is now available in our state.

Oklahomans used to have to travel to other states if they're heart was failing. Now, they can stay at home, with new resources to have a better life, for longer while taking part in a clinical trial.

"I couldn't walk from the living room, to the bathroom, without help, support, whatever you might want to call it," patient Victor Pollock said.

Pollock talked to a room full of doctors, and cameras, telling about his life as a man whose heart were failing him. He's a patient of cardiologists at INTEGRIS Baptist.

"He was literally a gentleman who was on the brink of death," INTEGRIS cardiologist Dr. Doug Hortsmanshof said. "He was hospitalized, his organs were failing, literally in front of us, his kidneys were shutting down, his liver was failing and he was passing away quickly."

More than a dozen years ago a left ventricular assist device was developed. Now, there is an updated version; the same device, several times smaller.

It's the smaller Thoratec Heart Mate that will now save thousands of lives in Oklahoma. Pollock was the first person to be fitted with the device to be used for the rest of his life in the state.

Without the thumping sound of the older Heart Mate, the newer, quieter model is less prone to complications, and is vibration free. The new model is drastically improving the quality of life for patients.

"I just feel that I've been given a second chance," Pollock said. "I have a life brought back to me that I no longer deserved."

Doctors said the new pump has been shown to last more than three years in the body. The older pump has to be replaced at 18 months.

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