Life Saving Heart Pump


POSTED: Friday, November 26, 2010 - 9:43am

UPDATED: Saturday, November 27, 2010 - 9:06am

A year after his surgery that saved his life, one man gives thanks to the doctors and heart pump that kept him alive.

While most are sharing and telling those they love what they are thankful for this year, one man is just thankful to be able to live to see this Thanksgiving holiday.

Just over a year ago Donald Porter was close to death. His heart was weak, too weak to undergo massive surgery. But a very new procedure and piece of equipment was suggested and gave Porter hope to recover.

"He said I think with this procedure I can give you a little bit longer," said Donald Porter, heart pump patient.

It's called Impella 2.5 and it's a heart pump the size of a pencil eraser. It helps the heart pump blood during surgery.

"So this pump allows us some leeway where it provides some heart function even if the heart were to be severely impaired for a few seconds or maybe even a few minutes," said Jaime Gomez, Cardiologist at Valley Regional Medical Center.

Every doctor's main goal is to get you on and off the operating table as fast as they can. So the great thing about this heart pump is that it only takes between two to ten minutes to insert. Leaving the rest of the time solely up to the procedure at hand.

After the surgery, Porter had to undergo multiple other procedures including open heart surgery and a heart defibrillator.

"So I've had all these procedures only because, the procedure I had here to begin with got my heart strong enough so I could go ahead and do the rest of them," said Porter.

The heart pump is only FDA approved to be used for about six hours and it doesn't replace a heart in any way.

What it does to is give doctors enough time to try  and fix the actual heart problem during surgery.

"If it hadn't been for this procedure, this hospital, and this doctor I wouldn't be here right now," said Porter.

Since Porter's procedure Valley Regional Medical Center has successfully used the heart pump with ten high risk heart patients.

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