How Our Tech & His Discipline Got Him to His New Heart

HeartMate 3, CardioMEMS and his pacemaker gave Tyrone Morris the time he needed for a new heart — and a new life.

How Our Tech & His Discipline Got Him to His New Heart
Healthy Heart | Mar. 26, 2021

Make no mistake, Tyrone Morris carried the burden.

He carried it from uprooting his life in Wisconsin to move to Texas, where the possibilities for a brighter future were just like everything in the state: bigger.

He carried it day and night as the weeks became months and the months became years.

He carried it through the highest demands and expectations of those on the transplant list to make himself an ideal candidate, worthy of that most vital organ. Globally, roughly 50,000 people need a heart each year. Yet just 5,000 heart transplants were performed in 2020.

And he carried the weight of that wait.

Through it all, he didn't let his congestive heart failure weigh him down.

And along the way, his HeartMate 3 left ventricular assist device (LVAD) — along with his pacemaker and CardioMEMS HF System (which monitors his heart's function wherever he is wirelessly) — were there to help along during his journey, creating a bridge from a life that was limited to a transplant that's opened up new doors of what life can hold for a man with so much ahead of him.

Tyrone Morris

His experience is in line with Washington University in St. Louis data, which found, "Survival after heart transplant has improved over time, but in the most recent decade, post-transplant survival for LVAD patients has reached parity with patients undergoing primary transplant."

He did the hard work and our technology helped him along the way.

He's earned the second chance he's been given. He deserves it.

"I'm very thankful, very grateful," he said. "The changes that I've made, the technology, it gave me life, it gave me breath. It made me relive my life."

As he was one of too many in need of too few hearts, it's remarkable that his transplant came during COVID-19.

Overall, as the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) reported, "2020 was nearly a record year for lifesaving organ transplants in the U.S. There were 35,890 transplant operations in the U.S. (down from a record 39,718 in 2019) — still an impressive number given the many challenges presented by the pandemic. And 40% more patients received transplants than just eight years ago."

Even with the restrictions inherent with living through a pandemic, shorter wait times for a heart were largely due to a new system initiated by UNOS, according to the Stanford Medical Center: "Under a new protocol, the network places patients into one of six categories, instead of one of three categories, based on the severity of their illness. That helps medical centers identify the most acutely ill patients in immediate need of a transplant and match available organs to them faster."

Still, if Morris hadn't for years taken the steps he did to prepare himself for the moment a suitable heart became available, the opportunity would have passed him by. He wasn't about to let illness or inattention steal his moment.

"I tell everybody, don't take (life) for granted," he said. "Don't throw your diagnosis in the trash. It is real. It is serious. And if you catch it early, you can get the proper help."

Tyrone Morris got the help he needed. It gave him the time he wanted. And now he has the new heart he'd hoped for. He crossed that bridge. Many more behind him are living to join him. Every nine minutes, a potential heart transplant candidate is added to the UNOS waiting list. And HeartMate 3 can be their life-line until their day comes.

"I'm living the dream," he said.

Important Safety Information

HEARTMATE 3 LEFT VENTRICULAR ASSIST SYSTEM

Brief Summary: Prior to using these devices, please review the Instructions For Use for a complete listing of indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, potential adverse events and directions for use.

Indications: The HeartMate 3™ Left Ventricular Assist System is indicated for providing short- and long-term mechanical circulatory support (e.g., as bridge to transplant or myocardial recovery, or destination therapy) in adult and pediatric patients with advanced refractory left ventricular heart failure and with an appropriate body surface area.

Contraindications: The HeartMate 3™ Left Ventricular Assist System is contraindicated for patients who cannot tolerate, or who are allergic to, anticoagulation therapy.

Adverse Events: Adverse events that may be associated with the use of the HeartMate 3™ Left Ventricular Assist System are: death, bleeding, cardiac arrhythmia, localized infection, right heart failure, respiratory failure, device malfunctions, driveline infection, renal dysfunction, sepsis, stroke, other neurological event (not stroke-related), hepatic dysfunction, psychiatric episode, venous thromboembolism, hypertension, arterial non-central nervous system (CNS) thromboembolism, pericardial fluid collection, pump pocket or pseudo pocket infection, myocardial infarction, wound dehiscence, hemolysis (not associated with suspected device thrombosis) or pump thrombosis.