April 13, 2016 – New Technology Aimed at Helping Heart Transplants
Shortly after having her son eight years ago, LaVishia McDonald began to feel sick. She was tired and thought she had the flu.
But she didn’t.
And her doctor didn’t know what was wrong with her. So McDonald, 43, of Adrian was sent to the University of Michigan Health System. The doctor took one look and knew something was wrong with her heart. He inserted a catheter to get a closer look.
What he found wasn’t good.
“He said, ‘You’re a very sick young lady. Your heart is going bad,’ ” she recalled.
Surgeons implanted a heart pump, and she has to carry around a small machine to keep it beating.
McDonald is one of 122 people in Michigan awaiting a heart transplant. For decades, the distance a heart could come from was limited to about four hours, making it tough to match hearts from donors outside a waiting recipients’ region.
That might be changing.