It’s no secret that many patients pass away simply because it takes too long for them to secure an organ for a transplant. The lists are long and the wait even more so, no wonder there’s a huge black market for organs. In some cases, technology can prove to be the savior, just ask 25-year old Stan Larkin who has survived 17 months without a heart in his body.

Larkin and his older brother were both diagnosed with familial cardiomyopathy in their teens, it’s a condition that slowly causes the heart to fail. Larkin’s heart was removed in December 2014 and he became the first patient in Michigan to get the SynCardia Freedom Portable Driver, it’s basically an external heart that’s carried around in a backpack.

The machine weighs 13.5 pounds and it uses compressed air to pump blood through the body. It’s designed for use in cases of total heart failure when devices used to assist in partial failure are no longer useful. Larkin’s older brother was also fitted with the SynCardia Freedom Portable Driver, he received a transplant last year.

After 17 months of carrying around the backpack that was literally keeping him alive, Larkin received a heart transplant just last month. He’s happy and healthy now and is grateful for the donor who gave him another shot at life.

Filed in Medical..