Ventricular Assist Device Patient Stories

Ventricular Assist Device Patient Playing Music Again

Thomas Mayah was an accomplished saxophone player. But in his early 20s, Thomas was diagnosed with heart failure, forcing him to stop playing his instrument.

Thomas was the first HeartWare ventricular assist device (VAD) implant at the University of Maryland. The University of Maryland has performed more than 100 HeartWare VAD implants. The bridge to transplantation technology has helped Thomas and many other patients sing a new tune.

Man uses artificial heart as bridge to transplant

Grant Feusner thought he was going to get an LVAD, but eventually was told he would need a total artificial heart. The artificial heart was used as a bridge until a heart was available for transplant. On his birthday, Feusner received his new heart.


VAD helps man live for heart transplant 

Greg Small heart transplant recipient

In May of 1996, I was diagnosed with a viral infection that affected my heart muscle. I am a veteran of the Gulf War, and some people speculate that I may have been exposed to elements in that environment that caused me to get sick. But the truth is, we don’t know. After the infection, my heart never returned to normal size.

I was 24 years old at the time.

My health started getting bad again in May 2005 and was functioning at only 10%. I came to UMMC and was put on a pic line. They listed me for a heart transplant on May 17, 2005. On July 12, 2005, UMMC's surgical team implanted a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) as a last resort. A heart transplant had become my end goal and the only option for my survival. I was now 33 years old and living with a VAD.

Click here to read the rest of Greg Small's story.