Dominique Larking of Ypsilanti, Mich., who has the same heart condition as his older brother Stan, also in his 20s, has received a donor heart after living with the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart since November 2014.
The product, developed by Tucson, Ariz.-based SynCardia, is also working for Stan while he awaits a matching-donor heart. Both brothers suffer from arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD), a disease that causes irregular heart rhythms and is a leading cause of sudden death among young athletes. Doctors discovered the condition in Stan in 2007 when he collapsed at a basketball game. They later tested Dominique and found his condition was equally serious.
Over the years, the brothers’ respective conditions deteriorated, and all other treatments failed to stop the advance of disease. Doctors at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center in Ann Arbor first admitted Stan, and then Dominique, in the fall of 2014.
SynCardia’s Total Artificial Heart is the only approved device that eliminates the source of end-stage biventricular heart failure; it is powered by the company’s Freedom® portable driver, which provides nearly unlimited mobility and allows patients to be discharged from the hospital to wait for their matching donor hearts at home and in their communities.
More than 1,400 implants of the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart account for 400-plus patient years of life on the device. Since January 2010 more than 550 SynCardia Hearts have been implanted.