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.