Technology helps man live without a heart

July 5, 2016
Amy Jang Troy High School 11th Grade

Amy Jang
Troy High School 11th Grade

Technology surrounds us on a day to day basis. More precisely, it surrounds us nearly every second of every minute of every hour of our lives. As a society, it seems that technology has consumed us and controls us. Like everything that has so much influence, people are quick to judge and criticize it. Yet, because of the advancements and progression that has been made in technology, the lives of those who would have been considered hopeless to save have actually had the chance to live.

One such example is a young man named Stan Larkin. A quick glance at him might suggest an ordinary young man walking around with a backpack. However, that backpack is what allowed him to live 555 days without a heart. Inside the backpack was an artificial heart that pumped his blood after his actual heart was removed from his body in November 2014.

Stan Larkin suffered from a genetic disease called famil- ial cardiomyopathy, a disease that enlarges certain open areas in the heart, preventing it from pumping the blood efficiently. He and his brother both suffered from the condition. While his brother got a transplant six weeks after being attached to an artificial heart, Lar- kin seemed to be the perfect person to live long-term with an artificial heart. Since being attached to the machine since November 2014, he carried it around with him ever since, commenting that it made him feel healthy before his actual transplant. Thankfully, however, in May 2016, he successfully received a heart transplant.

Artificial hearts, although quite extraordinary, are not the only tools that may seem to have come out of sci- ence fiction. A recent technological innovation that has greatly changed how we perform surgery is the da Vinci Surgical System. This system is powered by robotic technology and allows surgeons to work on the patient with small, precise movements. Equipped with a 3-D fiber optic camera, it allows surgeons to perform with the tools and abilities at a minuscule level that is just not possible for an open surgery. It has revolutionized sur- gery by changing the procedure to be less traumatic and minimally invasive. For example, surgeons can remove a prostate with only six 1⁄3 inch cuts on the patient. That is truly groundbreaking.

Thanks the advancement in technology, doctors and sur- geons around the world can now treat patients in myriad ways that many would not have believed possible just a few decades ago. The artificial heart, as well as the da Vinci Sur- gical System, illustrates how far we have come in technology and our ability to help patients live longer, healthier, and hap- pier lives.

One Comment

  1. kelly

    November 26, 2017 at 4:31 PM

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