The SynCardia Total Artificial Heart Provides Bridge to Transplant for
25-Year-Old Southern California Man Whose Father Died of the Same Disease
TUCSON, Ariz., Oct. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Kevin Stroh, 25, was fighting for
his life against congestive heart failure, the same disease that claimed the
life of his 29-year-old father. Thanks to the world's first and only
FDA-approved SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart, this Southern
California resident had a much different outcome.
Stroh had never had a heart problem until the winter of 2013. He became
breathless after riding his motorcycle on a cold January morning to a job site
to install conveyor equipment. This went on for several days until early
February. After hours of vomiting and sweating, he tried to sleep, only to wake
up because he couldn't breathe.
His mother took him to a nearby emergency room where doctors found a liter of
liquid in his lungs. They diagnosed Stroh as suffering from congestive heart
failure. It was then that his mom, Esperanza Longo, realized what was happening.
"She was just crying," Stroh recalls. "It was the same thing that my dad went
through 22 years ago. She was witnessing it again. That scared me. I thought I
was going to die."
After a few days in the hospital, Stroh went home with medication, but his
conditioned worsened. He couldn't keep food down and his skin started turning
gray. He moved out of his Rancho Cucamonga apartment to live with his family in
By late April he was admitted to a SynCardia Certified Center in California.
Stroh, who was within days of death, was too sick to be put on the heart
transplant list. On May 10, surgeons implanted the SynCardia Total Artificial
Heart, which is used as a bridge to transplant for patients suffering from
end-stage heart failure affecting both sides of the heart (biventricular
The SynCardia Heart is the only device that eliminates the symptoms and source
of end-stage biventricular heart failure. It provides immediate, safe blood flow
of up to 9.5 liters per minute through each ventricle.
Stroh's condition improved immediately after implant. "My family instantly said
they could see the color in my skin coming back," he says. "I woke up and I
actually felt really good. It was like instant relief. I felt almost normal
Nearly seven weeks later, Stroh, equipped with the Freedom(R) portable driver to
power his SynCardia heart was discharged from the hospital. He carried the 13.5
pound wearable power supply in a backpack.
For the month that he was waiting for a donor heart, Stroh and his family went
on several outings, including the beach and the mall. They even took in a Los
Angeles Dodgers baseball game where he took pictures with rookie phenom Yasiel
Puig. Electrical outlets in the handicapped seating sections at Dodger Stadium
allowed Stroh to charge his driver's two lithium batteries while he enjoyed the
By mid-July Stroh's health improved enough that he was placed on the donor heart
transplant wait list. He received a human heart on July 29 and went home only
eight days later.
Stroh celebrated his 25th birthday on Sept. 20 with a new heart and plans to
return to work and take some college classes.
"The SynCardia Total Artificial Heart saved my life," he says. "My sick body
wasn't strong enough to get a transplant. I give it 100 percent credit for
getting me through."
His mother, who lost her first husband to the same disease, is grateful. Says
Stroh: "She told me, 'Thank God and thank technology for being so advanced that
it saved your life.'"
The Freedom portable driver is CE approved for use in Europe and undergoing an
FDA-approved Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) clinical study in the U.S.
CAUTION - The Freedom portable driver is an investigational device, limited by
United States law to investigational use.
About the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart
SynCardia Systems, Inc. (Tucson, AZ) is the privately-held manufacturer of the
world's first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE approved Total Artificial
Heart. Originally used as a permanent replacement heart, the SynCardia Total
Artificial Heart is currently approved as a bridge to transplant for people
suffering from end stage heart failure affecting both sides of the heart
(biventricular failure). There have been more than 1,200 implants of the Total
Artificial Heart, accounting for more than 335 patient years of life on the
Similar to a heart transplant, the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart replaces
both failing heart ventricles and the four heart valves. It is the only device
that eliminates the symptoms and source of end stage biventricular failure.
Unlike a donor heart, the Total Artificial Heart is immediately available at 87
SynCardia Certified Centers worldwide with 33 others in the process of
The Total Artificial Heart provides immediate, safe blood flow of up to 9.5
liters per minute through each ventricle. This high volume of blood flow helps
speed the recovery of vital organs, helping make the patient a better transplant
SOURCE SynCardia Systems, Inc.