Stan Larkin lived with an artificial heart in his chest, and carried a 13.5-pound device that pumped blood into the heart around in a backpack for a little more than 18 months while waiting for a real heart transplant (video below).
According to a press release by the University of Michigan Health System, Stan was the first patient in the state ever allowed to leave a hospital with a SynCardia temporary artificial heart. The 25-year-old relied on it from 2015 until he had his heart transplant on May 9, 2016.
"A very emotional rollercoaster," Stan told a press conference in late May. "Two weeks ago I got the surgery. It was a good success. I enjoyed the backpack ... It brought my life back to make me as healthy as I am now."
To make this story even more extraordinary, Stan's older brother, Dominique, also had an artificial heart before undergoing his heart transplant in 2015.
Dominique had his artificial heart for only a few weeks before getting his transplant, notes ScienceAlert.com; however, Stan had to wait 555 days.
Stan and Dominique both have familial cardiomyopathy, a genetic condition in which the heart can suddenly fail.
"They were both very, very ill when we first met them in our intensive care units," Dr. Jonathan Haft, who performed the cardiac surgery, said in the news release. "We wanted to get them heart transplants, but we didn't think we had enough time. There's just something about their unique anatomic situation where other technology wasn't going to work."
Instead of living in the hospital with his artificial heart, Stan carried the Freedom portable driver in a backpack 24 hours a day.
"He just really thrived on the device," Haft said at the press conference. "The device, the Freedom driver, had to be exchanged about ten times while he was at home because this thing wasn’t built for pick-up basketball. And, so he really pushed the envelope, at least as far as what the company's intentions were with this technology."
Stan told MLive.com on May 26 at the hospital that he was looking forward to holding his three daughters, taking a shower and playing basketball.