By Christian Price, News9.com INsite Team
OKLAHOMA CITY - Brandon Aden is thankful for this holiday season. The 22-year-old wasn't supposed to live to see it.
In 2003, Aden was diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation, which means that the heart muscle is weaker than a healthy heart. Unfortunately, his heart continued to deteriorate to the point of congestive heart failure.
"The left ventricle pump of my heart had gone down to five percent, and then it went down to two percent," Aden said. "That was the purpose of them implanting the L-Vab device."
Aden is referring to his medical team at Integris Advance Cardiac Care. Dr. Douglas Horstmansof is Aden's physician. He felt that Aden was a perfect candidate for an L-Vad device, known as the left ventricular assist device.
"A normal heart muscle, or normal left of ventricle, should pump about two-thirds of the blood inside it with every beat, that would be about 65 percent," Dr. Horstmansof said. "We call that the ejection fraction. Brandon's ejection fraction was running about 10 percent."
Throughout the United States, there is a lack of tissue and organ donors, which translates to long lists of people in need, like Aden.
"We don't keep hearts on shelves, but we do keep this pump on a shelf," Dr. Horstmansof said. "We can decide to deploy this at the most opportune time for an individual as this was within Brandon's case."
Based on the progression of another device recipient, there is a future for Aden.
"We actually have another patient in Oklahoma who recently celebrated her four year anniversary on this device," Dr. Horstmansof said. "She's actually been living for four years with this and the pump itself and she's doing quite well."
Aden is especially thankful to be able to see his 6-month-old son's first Christmas and New Year's.
"It's very special to me because they told me I wouldn't make it to see Thanksgiving," Aden said. "For me to even be sitting here right now is a real major thing for me."