LVAD... Left Ventricular Assist Device



THE LVAD ALLOWED ME to go HOME and conquer my normal and newest tasks once again.

Thank you Columbia-Presbyterian... Dr Naka and his Surgery Team, LVAD Nation, Dr Bijou & Dr Bonoan, Dr Mascitelli and Dr Shulman-Marcus!!!


Thank You God For I Am Blessed!


I would look like this :-)


25 December 2011

Gabe J Erhenstein A Quiet And Humble LVAD HERO Until The Very End

After sitting 30 days of Shiva for Gabe, I am still at a loss, so many questions to be answered. Wondering of the mishaps that occured during a night of celebration. No one is to blame, Not Gabe nor his wife Lori. No blame on his friends, Doctors or hospital. Gabe was in a PERFECT CIRCLE of divine love and safety... but still slipped through and into the unknown that eventually took him from this earth. His death wasnt directly LVAD failure... he devoted his life to design a better LVAD for those in the future...

It was just his time, no other way to rationalize it. He accomplished great things before and after his LVAD and will live on as an LVAD Hero.






23 December 2011

Dear Wife,Mom,Family,Friends,Columbia New York Presbyterian and Thoratec... THANK YOU!!!

Thank You for Fighting The Good Fight and saving lives with your gifts, dicipline and passion. I will never run out of ways to thank you. Not a Single Day goes by that I dont wake up and I Thank you!

And The Good Saga Continues...

02 December 2011


The Morris' pictured here in front of Yankee Stadium, are enjoying 'extra innings' in life.

Photo by Gina Levay

Below is a Direct link to the article. However here are some excepts from the AARP article by Peter Jaret...

When damage to the heart is irreversible, as in most cases of congestive heart failure, the pump can buy time until a donor organ is available for a heart transplant. Before he suffered a heart attack at age 47, Michael-Joshua Morris, of New York City, was exceptionally active. After his heart attack, he couldn't walk more than 10 steps without gasping for breath and leaning on his wife, Anne Marie. Two years ago he had the device implanted. "What the heart attack took away from me, the LVAD gave back to me," says Morris, who still hopes to undergo a heart transplant.

But most recipients shrug off the inconveniences. "Sure, you've got a wire coming out of your gut, and batteries to worry about, and all that," says Morris. "I'm a Yankees fan, and someone once asked me if I felt as if my life was at the bottom of the ninth inning, two outs, bases loaded. The way I put it, my life is in extra innings. If I'd had my heart attack eight years ago, I wouldn't be alive. What can I be but grateful?"


25 November 2011



Look carefully, the ugly one in the grey hat has the LVAD :-)... Me! My driveline exits my body, yet for a moment, my wife gives me a break wearing my batteries and controller. My whole family plays a roll in living the NEW NORM with me ! My wife and family and my LVAD... Living the new norm happily :-)


23 November 2011

My Second Year Anniversary With The LVAD... Has Me Thinking NASCAR. Unlimited Thanks To ALL My Supporters And Sponsors :-)

For the Past 2 years, countless people, institutions and companies have made me what I am today... A THANKFUL, productive and Loving citizen within society... as time goes on... i will add to this post with stories of the folks who have restored my life for me and my Family!!! THANK YOU Thank you thank you!!!



17 November 2011

ANOTHER NEW NORM! WHAT CAN I SAY? I AM BLESSED BY MY TRUST IN GOD, Columbia NY Presbyterian Hospital And Thoratec.

The Noble person who had my life and heart in his hands.

Dr Naka The Selfless Surgeon

(Great Name For A TV SHOW)

This is My Wife, Me and My Mom just 8 hours after pump swap. I already was off the Vent, sitting up in a chair for 3hours and back in bed.

DISCHARGED 7 days after pump swap and heading home :-)

7 days after my LVAD Pump Swap I headed home Happier than before. Stronger than Ive ever been. I have alot of folks to thank but must start with 3 people. My Wife, Mother and Dr Naka who has had my heart in his hands twice.

2 years ago I had the Heartmate II implant. However I always knew I would be back in the hospital... for a Heart Transplant and or perhaps a pump replacement as i am blood type O negative which is the rarest blood type and longest wait for a heart.

Anyway with this mindset from 2 years back, i was always somewhat prepared to return for surgery. Like a Samarai Warrior, i envisioned myself going through different types of scenerios. Good ones and Bad ones... in an effort to always be prepared.

I like to constantly remind myself of the variables and possiblities surrounding me at any given time. I am not trying to be a hero but more a realist so that if something arises I AM THE STRONGEST I CAN BE... mentally or physically. To Me 90% of any battle is mental.

Today is the first day where i do not feel as exhausted as yesterday. :-) so for me this is DAY 1. I will be posting my experience and findings on my pump failure and swap. How it felt when the pump stopped and my native heart took over.

I will also discuss the folks involved in my surgery and recovery... but for now i leave a photo of me upon discharge... in the back seat of my truck as my wife is driving and my mom riding shotgun. One of me and my Caregivers and Dr Naka the most gifted man that has saved/restored/restarted my life TWICE!!!


10 November 2011

I was Sharon Nesmith's - Phlebotomist Last patient: After 15 years... Time for a Career Change :-)

I was Sharon Nesmith's Last patient: After 15 years... Time for a Career Change :-)
Congratulations Sharon and good luck in your new venture. I know the patients you took care of throughout your first career were blessed to have the least amount of pain :-). And if they were fortunate, they appreciated your humor :-) "you want 1 stick or 3". Too funny :-). God bless you Sharon and I know you will bring the same professionalism to your new career. Big big Hugs From the bottom of my heart and LVAD :-)


A Group Of Professionals Like Mythological Giants with Viking Proportions Came To Save My Life

A Group Of Professionals Like Mythological Giants With Viking Proportions Came To Save My Life.

The story of my Pump swap soon to be posted. Original Post that I was working on the last 3 days was lost by I saved it as a draft and when i returned to add photos, it was gone!!!

However I am quite well and been blessed by a great family and friends. I had the surgery and will be going home in a few days...


05 November 2011

LVAD Leaving The Pioneering Stage. Thank You Thoratec For The "ROADMAP" Study/Taking The Initiative

To me this translates into The LVAD Leaving Its Pioneering Stage and the better understanding of -WHAT Works And What Doesn't Work- Regarding therapies and medicine regiments. Its happening folks, a better quality of life for all LVAD recipients NOW and in the Future through epidemiological studies. Thank You Thoratec.

The purpose of this study is to evaluate and compare the effectiveness of the HeartMate II (HM II) Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) support versus OMM in ambulatory NYHA Class IIIB/IV heart failure patients who are not dependent on intravenous inotropic support and who meet the FDA approved indications for HM II LVAD destination therapy.

Condition Intervention
Heart Failure
Device: HM II (HeartMate II LVAD)
Drug: OMM (Optimal Medical Management)

Study Type: Observational
Study Design: Observational Model: Cohort
Time Perspective: Prospective
Official Title: Risk Assessment and Comparative Effectiveness of Left Ventricular Assist Device and Medical Management in Ambulatory Heart Failure Patients

Resource links provided by NLM:

MedlinePlus related topics: Heart Failure
U.S. FDA Resources

Further study details as provided by Thoratec Corporation:

Primary Outcome Measures:
•Composite of survival with improvement in Six Minute Hallway Walk Test distance from baseline of ≥ 75m. [ Time Frame: 12 months ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
•Risk stratified subgroup analysis of the primary endpoint and temporal analysis of primary endpoint. [ Time Frame: 6, 12, 18, and 24 months ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

•Accuracy of prognostic survival risk models including Seattle Heart Failure Model (SHFM) and HeartMate II Risk Score (HMRS) [ Time Frame: Baseline and 6, 12, 18 and 24 months ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

•Actuarial survival and survival free of stroke: a) intent-to-treat; and b) as treated. [ Time Frame: 24 months ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]

•Survival in LVAD group free of pump replacement. [ Time Frame: 24 months ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

•Quality of Life using the EQ-5D-5L Health Utility Index. [ Time Frame: Baseline and 6, 12, 18 and 24 months ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

•Depression using Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9). [ Time Frame: Baseline and 6, 12, 18 and 24 months ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

•Questionnaire on patient decisions related to LVAD therapy versus optimal medical management. [ Time Frame: Baseline and 6, 12, 18 and 24 months ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

•Functional status using 6MWT distance and NYHA Classification [ Time Frame: Baseline and 6, 12, 18 and 24 months ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

•Incidence of adverse events, rehospitalizations, days alive and not hospitalized. [ Time Frame: 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21 and 24 months ] [ Designated as safety issue: Yes ]

Estimated Enrollment: 200
Estimated Study Completion Date: December 2015
Groups/Cohorts Assigned Interventions
HM II (HeartMate II LVAD)
Subjects who elect to, and receive HM II LVAD therapy at baseline
Intervention: Device: HM II (HeartMate II LVAD) Device: HM II (HeartMate II LVAD)
The HM II pump contains a single moving component, the rotor. The pump is implanted just below the left hemidiaphragm with the inflow attached to the apex of the left ventricle and the outflow graft anastomosed to the ascending aorta. Blood is pumped continuously throughout the cardiac cycle from the left ventricle to the aorta.
Other Name: Left Ventricular Assist Device
OMM (Optimal Medical Management)
Subjects who elect to remain on optimal medical management
Intervention: Drug: OMM (Optimal Medical Management) Drug: OMM (Optimal Medical Management)
Optimal medical management per established heart failure guidelines for this subject population including ACE inhibitors, beta blockers and aldosterone antagonists 45 out of the last 60 days or an inability to tolerate neurohormonal antagonists.
Other Name: Medical Management

Detailed Description:
The HeartMate II (HM II) LVAD is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in destination therapy (DT) patients with New York Heart Association (NYHA) Class IIIB/IV symptoms.

The ROADMAP trial is a prospective, multi-center, non-randomized, controlled, observational study that is designed to evaluate the effectiveness of HM II LVAD support versus optimal medical management (OMM) in ambulatory NYHA Class IIIB/IV heart failure patients who are not dependent on intravenous inotropic support and who meet the FDA approved indications for HM II LVAD destination therapy. Subjects will be enrolled in one of two cohorts: OMM or LVAD. Together with the investigator, the subjects will decide which cohort to enter into at their baseline visit. This study will include experienced HM II LVAD implant centers as well as community centers that care for a large volume of heart failure patients. Study patients will be followed for up to 24 months post enrollment for survival, quality of life and functional status.


Ages Eligible for Study: 18 Years to 85 Years
Genders Eligible for Study: Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers: No
Sampling Method: Non-Probability Sample

Study Population
HM II implanting centers and community/referral heart failure clinics

The following are general criteria; more specific criteria are included in the study protocol:

Inclusion Criteria:

•NYHA Class IIIB/IV (refer to Appendix IV for definitions)
•Left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) ≤ 25%
•Not currently listed for heart transplantation, and not planned in next 12 months
•On optimal medical management
•Limited functional status as demonstrated by 6MWT <300 meters •At least: ◦One hospitalization for HF in last 12 months or ◦At least 2 unscheduled emergency room or infusion clinic visits (may include intravenous diuretic therapy, etc.) for HF in last 12 months Exclusion Criteria: •Presence of mechanical aortic or mitral valve, including planned conversion to bioprosthesis •Platelet count < 100,000/mi within 48 prior to enrollment •Any inotrope use within 30 days prior to enrollment •Inability to perform 6MWT for any reason •Any condition, other than heart failure, that could limit survival to less than 2 years •History of cardiac or other organ transplant •Existence of any ongoing mechanical circulatory support (including intraaortic balloon pump, temporary circulatory support devices, etc.) at the time of enrollment •Presence of active, uncontrolled, systemic infection •History of an unresolved stroke within 90 days prior to enrollment, or a history of cerebral vascular disease with significant (> 80%)extracranial stenosis
•Contraindication to anticoagulation/antiplatelet therapy
•CRT or CRT-D within 3 months prior to enrollment
•Coronary revascularization (e.g. CABG, PCI) within 3 months prior to enrollment
Contacts and Locations

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT01452802

Responsible Party: Thoratec Corporation ( Thoratec Corporation ) Identifier: NCT01452802 History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: TC07272011
Study First Received: October 12, 2011
Last Updated: October 14, 2011
Health Authority: United States: Institutional Review Board

Keywords provided by Thoratec Corporation:
HeartMate II
heart-assist device
medical management
optimal medical management
Heart Failure NYHA Class IIIB/IV

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Heart Failure
Heart Diseases
Cardiovascular Diseases processed this record on November 03, 2011

Direct Link Here:


28 October 2011

26 October 2011

2 Years Later: Watching The World Series... Still Swinging The Bat... LVAD Undercover

Beneath the baseball jersey you will still find 2 lithium batteries and and a system controller worn at the waist AND the LVAD implanted inside me.

This photo was shot by my son who was taking pictures of a photo shoot i was participating in for Gina LeVay.

More photos and videos to follow shortly. As for Gina's photos of the day...!? I am looking forward to seeing those :-)

And The Good Saga Continues...

Former Vice President Dick Cheney Shows Off Heartmate II Batteries and Alarms,,,

Shown here is Former VP Cheney at an interview showing his LVAD 14 Hour Batteries. He also removed one of his 2 required batteries... showing that the LVAD system has back-up safety features with audible alarms. This is a great photo!

And The Good Saga Continues...

25 October 2011


The best "Catch" of my lifetime is Thoratec's Heartmate II LVAD. Left with no stamina after a massive Heart attack, 2 years ago the "pump" pictured above serves as an artificial Left Ventricle (Assist Device).


09 October 2011


2 years ago i had a Widow-Maker of a heart attack. I couldnt walk more than 5 feet without gasping for air and resting from being too tired to put one foot in front of another. 2 years later, I have an LVAD and it has absolutely restored my life to near normal. I emphasize near normal as i am restricted from taking "true" Showers and I can not swim. Also I can not participate in contact sports however the trade-off is living a life away from hospice care or worse... being on the otherside of the ground... 6 feet under.

Currently I am on the waitinglist for a heart transplant and on an LVAD therapy called "Bridge To Transplant". If i had to do it all over, i would make the decision to have the LVAD implanted... in a heart beat (or less).

Dr Naka/The Man/The Surgeon responsible for giving me my life back

I look back on my dark days of October 2009 and NEVER thought i would make it this far. It wasnt until late November 2009 when i had the LVAD Implant.

At the time of this post i am fortunate enough to make breakfast in bed for my beautiful Wife and Mother :-) Both dont know, but both will be surprised.

Thank you to the Good folks up Columbia-NYPH, Thoratec, Dr Bonoan, My Family/Friends and last but not least God, my Faith.

And The Good Saga Continues :-)

23 September 2011

To My Donor Family, THORATEC, THANK YOU... For My 2nd Beautiful Life.

Having an “LVAD Implant” myself and with the notion that this may sound strange to most… I feel that THORATEC is concurrently (as close to being) MY Heart Donor and Donor family. And why not?!?

My Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)… the LVAD, the Heartmate II (HMII) by Thoratec… is born out of Love, passion, dedication, RESPECT and Love for life. The HMII is a the Gift given to folks with end stage heart failure. It is a chance to restore life with quality and stamina; to previous levels or even better… it has for me.

On September 5th, 2011 at Yankee Stadium an LVAD, My LVAD was in attendance.

Is this not what being a donor and donor family is all about too? I say all of this with confidence as I have met with many Thoratec Employees at every level. We’ve exchanged emails and phone calls as well as face to face planned and unplanned meetings, a Company tour of Headquarters and “The Plant” where the Heartmate II is assembled and tested. I even tweet with a few...

Me and my wife, friend and my Caregiver.

Like a caring Family, Thoratec ongoing projects are visionary that constantly update the quality of life for their LVADers now and in the future. Every step of the way, every angle, their daily mission is focused on the NOW and the future. This will ensure the possibility for more folks with End Stage Heart Failure their own re-Birthday, a second chance… Life restored with quality. My LVAD HeartMate II Birthday cake

The Heartmate II constantly gives back to me what my heart attack took away from me. Thank you Thoratec, my donor Family, for my 2nd Beautiful Life. Thank you to all responsible for developing the LVAD throughout history.
(Thoratec, along with every other Medical Device company… is in the business to make money and profit. I do not own $tock in Thoratec nor have any other stock market investments. However, I do want Thoratec and other proven Health Industry manufacturers to be successful and make a profit! Why wouldn’t I? I want them to save even more lives; giving more people that second chance. Sparing families of the immediate loss of a loved one.)


16 September 2011

A Hero for all times... Passenger and Citizen Soldier on Flight 93/Tom Burnett Jr

Deena Burnett raising the flag for her Husband Tom Burnett Jr.

A Hero for all times... One heard of the many heroes from that horrible day September 11th 2001... Tom Burnett Jr, Employed by Thoratec and a Passenger and Citizen Soldier on Flight 93 reminds me of what life should be all about... to be a productive citizen in society in any shape or form.

In the days after 9-11-11 "Ten Years After" MY OWN EFFORT to never forget 9-11 lures me to Tom Burnett Lane And Thomas E. Burnett Jr. Memorial Bridge and other memorials... Why? May you ask? Because of all the Heroes on that day, he intrigues me as he was employed by a medical device company that 8 years after Tom's heroic deeds, saved and or restored my life.

For those not familiar with Tom Burnett Jr and his link to HIS Flight 93, here is an excerpt from UNITEDHEROES.COM:

-Mr. Burnett phoned his wife Deena four times. In the first call he told her about the situation on the plane and asked her to call authorities. The second time he phoned, he told her that he believed their captors were going to fly the plane into the ground. "The next time he called," Mrs. Burnett said, "I could tell they were formulating a plan." In the last call, he reportedly said, "I know we're going to die. There's three of us who are going to do something about it."-

Since this tragedy, tributes and memorials have been constructed remembering this day and its heroes... here are some for Mr Tom Burnett Jr:

The California State Assembly renamed the Fostoria Way overcrossing over Interstate 680 in San Ramon the Thomas E. Burnett Jr. Memorial Bridge in his honor.

Another is a Street renamed to Tom Burnett Lane... below is a photo of Tom Burnett Lane wth flags and memorials left by people who respect and love Tom:

Thank you Tom and to ALL our innocent Heroes murdered on this day of September 11th, 2001

And The Good Saga Continues...

14 September 2011

Double LVAD Serves As A Fully Implantable Artificial Heart. Dr. Frazier And Team Of...

Although I have posted this before on my Blog, it is certainly worthy of a double post on my blog :-) as a Double-LVAD was designed to prolong life.

Two LVAD pumps were implanted and used to sustain a life in the pioneering land of Texas. Thanks again to JBPejo for breaking this news to the LVAD community.

And The Good Saga Continues...

12 September 2011

10 years Later:An Outstanding Day and Night Of Harmony,September 11, 2011

THIS POST IS A WORK IN PROGRESS as we had taken many Photos of this day. 1st and foremost I will start with one of the most important to me.

On this day of September 11,2011 one would expect alot of tension and stress. However it was a beautifully peaceful day due to the folks in uniform. NYPD,FDNY/EMT and the PAPD.

P.O. Lessey A NYPD Officer briefly took the time to chat and take a Photo... his partner was camera shy :-). Although there was a moment of playfulness shared between us, we all felt Safe and secure under P.O. Lessey's and the rest of NYPD's watch. We are indebted to him and the rest of the force for their sacrifices diligence and bravery. Thank You!

The Freedom Tower

And The Good Saga Continues...

11 September 2011

WE ALL STOOD STRONG, Cried On Eachother's Left shoulder For Love And Support, Stood On Eachother's Right Shoulders To Rescue And Rebuild

What is the link between my LVAD and September 11th 2001? To sum it up... I AM ALIVE! Ive outlived the VILE ORGANISM THEY CALLED "OSAMA BIN LADEN", a BLOODSUCKING PARASITE" who convinced a legion to hurt and or murder our people our children!

However Thank you God and thank you to MY LVAD. I am ALIVE to do the best I can to protect and guide my family. I AM a Proud American, Born and raised in NYC.

10 years ago today was chaotic BUT WE ALL STOOD STRONG, Cried on each other's Left shoulder for Love and support, Stood on each others right shoulders to Rescue and rebuild again. At my age i still dont know why there is still hatred in the world But I do know I and am blessed by God's grace to be alive and kickin and to read from our younger generation of Love and Strength of our Country's Future! As usual it is Bright and happy like a brilliant smile on a child's face... this Brilliant smile is just a glimpse from my youngest niece who was 2 years old at the time terror hit our lives September 11th 2001. She writes today:

Two towers stood tall
and then began to fall
People started to stare
at nothing that wasn't there
People were crying
... while people were dying
Over 1000 people died
that shoudnt have lost there lives
♥ R.I.P. ♥ you'll never be forgotten

My response to my beautiful niece and her generation...
I Love you Brianna (Daelyn and Dylan), although you were 2 years old when this sadness happened to our Country and to our neighbors... It does my heart good to see the youngest generation of that time honor and remember the friends and families lost on this tragic day. It is important to these innocent heroes who perished that we as a People and Country as well as the World to fight the good fight to ward off evil and misrepresentations of our beliefs and ways. Freedom is God's way to show us to Love life... not for ignorant people to take away. I Love you and your sister from the bottom of my heart and your smiles gives me the energy to stand up against all negativity... ♥ ♥ ♥ xoxoxo



✈ ▌▌NeverForget ✈ ▌▌

✈ ▌▌NeverForget ✈ ▌▌

We Will ✈ ▌▌NeverForget ✈ ▌▌

WE WILL ✈ ▌▌NeverForget ✈ ▌▌ EVER!!!


10 August 2011

We Could Not Be, Without The Likes Of Our Brave LVAD Heroes...


Yesterday morning I received word that Brandon’s long hard journey has come to an end. He is at rest… at peace now after a hard fought struggle. To me his brave fight against steep health complications brought the LVAD community even closer. His wife, Kari kept us all informed with Brandon’s good fight. Her unconditional love and support of her husband and children spread across the (Facebook-)LVAD community on a daily basis. God Bless Brandon’s family, my good thoughts and prayers for his family are constantly raised throughout day.

The LVAD community’s own HEART deeply feels his loss.

07 August 2011

Flight 93 9/11/01 HERO Mr. Burnett/Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Thoratec Corp

With our own drama in our lives we tend to forget HEROES that step up and save lives. Tom Burnett did this on his job at THORATEC and on flight 93 on September 11th, 2001... Thanks Kristin Millar for reminding us about Tom...

Thomas Burnett, Jr.
38 years old
San Ramon, CA

Mr. Burnett was the senior vice president and chief operating officer of Thoratec Corp., a maker of Heart medical devices, including the #LVAD... based in Pleasanton, California.

On September 11, 2001, while on board Flight 93, he was able to call his wife four times on an airphone after the hijackers took control of the plane. Mr. Burnett phoned his wife Deena four times. In the first call he told her about the situation on the plane and asked her to call authorities. The second time he phoned, he told her that he believed their captors were going to fly the plane into the ground. "The next time he called," Mrs. Burnett said, "I could tell they were formulating a plan." In the last call, he reportedly said, "I know we're going to die. There's three of us who are going to do something about it."

Burnett and other passengers had been in communication with people via airphones and learned that the World Trade Center had been hit using hijacked airplanes. Burnett was among the passengers who decided to fight the hijackers hand-to-hand.

Burnett called his wife, Deena, and reportedly told her, "We're all going to die, but three of us are going to do something." He is survived by his wife and three young daughters: Halley, Madison, and Anna Clare. He is also survived by a biological daughter, Mariah, that he and his college girlfriend gave up for adoption in 1985. (Mariah Mills now has a relationship with Deena and her three half-sisters.)

Deena Burnett co-authored a book with Anthony Giombetti entitled Fighting Back: Living Life Beyond Ourselves. The book is published by Advantage Inspirational and was released in July 2006. Fighting Back recounts the difficulties in getting the FBI to release cockpit voice recorder tapes from United 93 to the public, and includes Deena Burnett's thoughts on the nature of heroism.

Burnett was posthumously awarded the Arthur Ashe Courage Award in 2002. Also in that same year, a street in Pleasanton, California, where he worked for Thoratec Corporation, was renamed Tom Burnett Lane, commemorating his heroic efforts on Flight 93 that fateful day of September 11, along with his fellow passengers. There is also a memorial called Hero's Garden at Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management in Tom's honor.

The California State Assembly renamed the Fostoria Way overcrossing over Interstate 680 in San Ramon the Thomas E. Burnett Jr. Memorial Bridge in his honor

At his memorial service Mr. Burnett's older sister, Martha Burnett O'Brien, said she's struggling with her brother's death, partly because she didn't see him the last time he visited the family in Minnesota. It was a week and a half before his death. "I didn't know it was going to be my last chance. I regret not making time, not catching him before he flew out. I figured that I had a lifetime of opportunities to do that. And in the course of this loss, our country has gained a hero," she said.

His sister also added that her brother would be happiest if everyone in the audience at least did a little something to improve the country...

Thomas Burnett was the father of three girls, five-year-old twins, Madison and Halley, and four-year-old Anna-Claire.

Mr. Burnett's employer, THORATEC has set up a memorial fund. All the money collected will go directly into a fund for Deena Burnett. She plans to use the money largely for the children's education.

Send donations to:

The Thomas E. Burnett Jr. Family Memorial Fund
c/o CIBC Oppenheimer Corp.
Account #074-17387-10
580 California Street, Suite 2300
San Francisco, CA 94104
phone: (415) 438-3000

If you wish to send a letter to the family, send it to Deena Burnett, c/o Thoratec Corp. att: Beth Taylor, 6035 Stone Ridge Drive, Pleasanton, CA 94588.

And The GOOD SAGA continues... Thank You Tom! Thank You!

*Thanks again to Kristin Millar for reminding us of this Great American Hero

24 July 2011

The Mac Sinclair LVAD AWARD

Who is Mac Sinclair??? He was an LVAD recipient who designed his own lithium batteries before Thoratec issued them to the public. Mac also wired his car so that the LVAD can be powered via cigarette lighter :-) and this was just the begining of this true LVAD PIONEER... Mac and Sue's Blog:

And The Good Saga Continues...

06 July 2011

I have Been Nominated and Awarded For My HealthCare and Communications/Social Media Involvement for the LVAD

Below is a direct link to my profile page on Organized Wisdom. This brings a smile to my face as over the past year i have used Organized Wisdom-Folks as a reliable resource for my LVAD research and more.

I am humbled and Honored to be listed among these leading experts and professionals.
And The Good Saga Continues...

22 June 2011

The 1st LVAD Interview I Granted after turning down TV/RADIO And Other Print Interviews: Read and see why...

It is probably better if you travel to the direct link as it has photos... AND the site is one of my favorites as it is very innovative:

The Joshua Interview:

Editors Note: Josh is a HeartMate II recipient and is awaiting a heart transplant. Please click here if you are unfamiliar with his story and would like to see how we got to the point of doing this interview.

On 06/09/2011, Teutonic 13 wrote:
Hello Joshua, this is Frank from Circuit Surfers.

Wasn’t “Joshua” the name of the computer in “War games”? It was something like that.

Anyway let’s begin the interview:

You contacted me via twitter regarding CircuitSurfers- and mentioned it was very innovative and that you liked it.

I saw your handle LVADone and assumed you to be a perfusionist, never actually considering to read your name and understand what it implied.

There is a lot of your biographical history on the fantastic blog that you write. What was it that made you reach out and decide to blog your HeartMate II experience?

(When you get this- just reply to it- and we’ll do the interview that way- if your ok with it. Please ask questions as well- or offer your opinions of the situation, me- the blog whatever-… keep it raw and keep it real…)


On o6/15/2011, Joshua wrote:

Frank, big apologies for the delay…

My wife flew to take care of her Dad and last night i got back 230am after spending 7 hours discussing Thoratec’s future products.

Anyway my response to Q1 is as follows:

Initially my blog started off as a Journal for my family and friends.

When I came home from my implant I had many calls throughout the day asking how I was. At some point I was ” tired” of sounding redundant so I told everyone to check out my blog posts for my health updates.

After a month or so i noticed that my blog was receiving recognition from interested parties from across the nation and around the world.

So I thought that I would share what I could about the LVAD for those looking to learn.

When I first started blogging about the LVAD there wasn’t any real “patients perspective” on the LVAD. It was all Clinical info.

I then began to microblog, using twitter to obtain and pass information about the LVAD as well as my blog.

On o6/17/2011, Teutonic 13 wrote:
I’ve had a chance to actually read your blog and learn more about you Joshua…

I am fascinated by your bluntness and the immense spirit you show to others less fortunate, or as is the case recently, a fellow LVAD recipient.

So the next few questions are centered on your “drive”.

Q 2: Were you always as outgoing and generous with your empathy as you seem to be now? I know you are a New Yorker- or at least a Yankees fan, but were you always this kind, or was the reality of walking on the edge of continuity- a spiritual paradigm shift for you?


I might be less outgoing and generous now as I do have restrictions because of the LVAD.

I was raised to be selfless… Altruistic, A humanitarian at heart. It runs in the family.
Walking on the edge didn’t bring a paradigm shift, but a battle cry to help others get through what I had already experienced.

My approach is that I am further up on the hill then them and I am just calling down to them to watch out for this obstacle or that obstacle.

Q3: It is obvious that you are “eternally grateful” to the immediate family of clinicians that were your custodians so to speak as you went through this experience, but it truly was their vocation to do so, just as it is mine to deliver a safe bypass run during open heart operations.

So it seems that the line was crossed at some point, where you stopped being “patient X with the VAD” and became a source of inspiration, accomplishment, and siphon for emotional commitments from seasoned individuals who rarely allow themselves the gift of that sort of intimacy. A departure from their emotional walls. When did that happen? At what point did it become obvious you weren’t just an exercise?


Wow, your observations are keen, spot on! Ive learned from a young age to assess people on WHO they are and NOT what they are. I ran into a doctor who had a messiah-complex and was arrogant to me and my family. Although i was so ill at the time, i did verbally put him in his place. Afterwards each nurse in ICU came in to thank me for straightening him out till this day, 19 months later he is behaving

However from the moment I entered the hospital for treatment of THE heart attack, I made sure I wasn’t going to be Patient X or PtX w/LVAD My wife is always amazed how strangers, Professionals… Warm up to me quickly. I can never be wrong by being Me.

Q4: Sometimes those who need the most, get the least and end up offering up to others what they themselves need. Is that subconsciously a driving factor for the raw nature of your drive to support and educate others?


I don’t believe so. I never expect much, so being this way I am rarely disappointed or feel slighted. I just realized when my Blog was being noticed by others and the questions began to pour in, i realized there was a place for me to steer folks in the right direction. Connecting the dots.

When I was seven years old, My Father was one of the first Home-Dialysis patients in NY, this was in the early to mid 1970s. So at the age of 7 I assisted my mom placing my Father on and of Dialysis, 3x per week/6 hour sessions. So as you can see, from a young aged I’ve been shaped for this.

On o6/18/2011, Teutonic 13 wrote:
As you and I know, you are at the tip of the spear regarding the human equation.

Your outcome shall be the tether for future efforts to sustain life and defeat our greatest limiting factor – death.

(That concept may be totally skewed as the concept of “an end” may be what propels us to solve the problem).

Q5: Obviously life and death are side bites in most people’s lives. To be afraid to die is to cancel the check on living. So how does that play?


Tomorrow is not promised to anyone. I have always believed that fear of death or not wanting to grow or look old are selfish traits. Fear of death causes midlife crissis et al !? No? It Causes folks to be addicted to substances that allows them to get lost in their lives avoiding the inevitable. However, one day the same folks awaken because death is before them.

Q6: Is your blog an extrapolation of your will to survive?

Quite the opposite… As it started as a journal for my friends and family to review, it is also something for the future that my children and grandchildren will show to their kids and hopefully twill say ” wow he was a good guy”

Q7: Where does the concept of experiment begin and end? Do you feel that you are… an experiment? Or do you trust the next evolution of technology to take you further? And if so- where does it take you?


I take 1 day at a time, but keep my eye on the industry’s progression. As i told one of my surgeons, Dr Takayama ” I am so grateful to have an extension upon my life, knowing my children’s generation will benefit by this.”

We LVADers are “test pilots”, some crash and burn some live on and exceed expectations. we are still in the new frontier of battling heart disease and I don’t mind being an experiment.

If humanity does not experiment we will never achieve new and great things. It won’t happen in my lifetime but I would like to see the artificial Heart replace heart transplantation as there isn’t a rejection factor with titanium

But this opens up a whole new can of worms… Will mechanical hearts allow people to live to 150?

This is a deep issue. Deep.

Q8: I like to think of your story as a bottom of the 5th inning getting a string of hits- and tying the ball game- when you were down a few runs. At this point is it a tie game for you? There’s a lot of game left and the 7th inning stretch.


Nice analogy… But perhaps I am in the bottom of the 5th,tie game and with 2 outs/full count I hammered out a homerun to take the lead (LVAD IMPLANT). Now we are in a rain delay… Still in the lead.

Q9: Is a new heart the relief pitcher?


No, more like extra innings

I’m thinking that the guy above is going to slam it home…

On o6/18/2011, Joshua wrote:

Frank, have you always lived in Texas ?

You mentioned your Dad being in France…

Its the obvious passion you possess, drive to juggle numerous tasks and callings while maintaining your profession that doesn’t make you “normal” And this is why you can’t write “normal” stuff . normal is average…. Some are born/wired not to be “just average” and it intrigues me… I am certainly not normal or average.

It’s apparent that you are on a mission (that only a few can compete with and complete). To share what you know and selflessly build upon it with others. Folks will be inspired by and or envy/jealous of you i.e.: that email you sent out of a colleague who unethically dislikes your website/blog and it’s theme.

IMHO I say ignore the distractors. Do not delegate time to launch rebuttals etc, as they want the attention. “speak to the hand” approach will leave you less stressed to do what you do best.

Will send complete answers to your questions by tomorrow, the latest. Been alone last few days (by choice) since my wife flew to care for her dad. Feels good to be totally autonomous even for a brief shining moment. However I promised my wife, I will allow family members to sleep over and babysit me. :-)


On o6/19/2011, Teutonic wrote:
Nah. I just moved to Texas 3.5 years ago. Was doing alot of Locums work, falling behind on everything, away from my family so much it was ridiculous.

Finding a job in perfusion with the amount of experience I have is hard to do. People either think there is something wrong with you, or they feel they are going to insult you with a lower salary offer. It sucks.

I got a break from two really decent guys out of Dallas, Loyd Yancy, and Steve Sutton. They trusted me, and I am grateful to them for that.

I did the blog thing initially because I wanted to write it down. I wanted to write something that was perfusion and the human equation part of it.

It started out as a directory for perfusion related topics. Very dry stuff- but important information to people that may not have the resources or professional affiliations to get that info quickly.

I’m talking about our other perfusion friends in smaller countries around the world (have had 116 countries come to visit).

Then it morphed into something else. What that something else is- I do not know. But for some reason it just feels right.

I don’t know where that conviction comes from, but it just seems like my gut instinct on writing this stuff is that it’s there to serve a greater purpose. Who knows what that truly means, but I trust my instincts.

The fact that it’s not for profit is exhilarating in terms of the freedom it confers on the blog.

I can handle the flack, but don’t like embarrassing myself- and I may have in terms of my response to the event you referred to.

So a couple of thoughts to close out this interview:
Q 10: What do you know of perfusionists? Have you met any, and what if anything would you like to say to us as a profession?


Pre-LVAD I thought Perfusionists to be Those who control blood flow to a patient under the knife in open heart surgery.

Since my own implant… I grew to know more. Minutes prior TO ME JOINING THE “zipper scar club”

I met everyone on the cardio-surgery team except the Perfusionist.

It was not until a month or so after surgery I participated in the only perfusion test/controlled blood perfusion to the brain. The model they created from the study is the only in the world. It will help future LVAD patients as well as Stroke patients. Here I met neurologists psychologists surgeons and my Perfusionist.

He introduced himself and I explained what he had done. This was the first time I knew my own heart was stopped as part of the procedure.

I now look at Perfusionists as “our” first Caregivers, so to speak prior to the LVAD taking completely over.

The test yielded info that was able to map my brain function while my pump speed was reduced by 1,000 rpm increments until pump was spinning at minimum

I was tested for my brain activity as well as 2 or 3 six minute walks. The study was monthly for 12 months. I believe it was called the SOCC study? I posted this info on my blog.

Q 11: Do you have any questions regarding us? Anything you want to know about what we do- see- or feel?


I know a sense of confidence along with a clear and disciplined head dictates your work ethic and performance. However, we are all human; we are all mortal.

On days that you may feel under the weather, mentally and or physically… finding yourself in your scrubs ready to jump into the theater of life saving…

Do you compartmentalize your distractions and proceed to surgery? Or is it more akin to an athlete who psyches him or herself into “The Zone”?


I think we are reminded of our human fallibility (the potential to err is in all of us) every day we pump a case. With so many steps and moving parts in the equation, the goal is to choreograph out a perfect “10″ every single time.

Of course that doesn’t always happen, as unforseen circumstances may come up, equipment may fail, and the totally unexpected “never thought that was going to happen” moment rears it’s head.

So the “10″ ends up being- not the perfect pump run, as much as it represents, the perfect recovery from an adverse situation.

That’s truly when we are “perfusionists”. The ability to adapt to rapid change, think through a previously unencountered problem, and still keep your heart in your chest- is what makes us all so special. Anybody that’s been in the field for a period of time has been in the zone. That’s a cool place to be. But ALL of us, have hovered outside of it as well.

Eventually it boils down to consistency and “showing up” every day. You have to love this profession or you might as well leave it. I am proud of the field, and very proud of the friends and colleagues I have met doing the same job.

On o6/22/2011, Teutonic wrote:
Well Josh that wraps it up. The interview is done, but it feels like a beginning in terms of having gotten to know you, and seeing the kind of person you are.

I have learned a lot , and I thank you for your time, effort, and your contribution to all of us who pray for you, but but can’t be you.

Safe Journey to You & Yours …


Frank Aprile, BBA, LP, CCP


03 May 2011


Thoratec Comments on Publication of HeartMate II® Bridge-to-Transplantation Post-Approval Study in JACC

PLEASANTON, Calif., May 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Thoratec Corporation (NASDAQ: THOR), a world leader in device-based mechanical circulatory support therapies to save, support and restore failing hearts, today commented on an article published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) examining outcomes from a bridge-to-transplantation (BTT) post-approval study featuring the company's HeartMate II® LVAS (Left Ventricular Assist System). The article's lead authors include Dr. Randall Starling from Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Yoshifumi Naka from Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, and Dr. Andrew Boyle from Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center.

Results from the study showed survival for patients on HeartMate II in the commercial setting of 90 percent at six months and 85 percent at one year. Additionally, the study found meaningful improvements in important adverse event categories when compared to a similar group of patients implanted with other approved LVADs. In particular, HeartMate II patients experienced extremely low occurrences of some of the most critical adverse events, including pump replacement, stroke, and right heart failure.

The HeartMate II received FDA approval for BTT in April 2008. The post-approval study was designed to assess whether the commercial use of the HeartMate II was comparable to other available commercial devices approved for BTT and to validate the findings from the pivotal clinical trial regarding the efficacy and risk profile of the HeartMate II.

The FDA-sanctioned post-approval study compared outcomes from the first 169 post-approval HeartMate II BTT patients enrolled in the Interagency Registry for Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support (INTERMACS) in the U.S., versus 169 patients who were treated with either the HeartMate® XVE or Thoratec® IVAD™ (Implantable Ventricular Assist Device). Patients were enrolled at 77 U.S. centers and followed for at least one year after implant. The primary endpoint was survival while awaiting transplantation, with secondary endpoints including adverse events, functional status and quality of life. Enrollment of HeartMate II patients in the study occurred from April 2008 through August 2008.

For the HeartMate II patients, 62 percent were classified as INTERMACS profile I or II, representing the sickest end-stage heart failure patients, including almost 25 percent in profile I. INTERMACS profile I describes patients in critical cardiogenic shock, while INTERMACS profile II captures patients in progressive decline on inotropes.

"The results for HeartMate II in this challenging patient population are highly compelling, not only in terms of absolute survival but also with respect to quality of life and continued reductions in adverse events," said Gary F. Burbach, president and chief executive officer of Thoratec. "In particular, we were pleased with the extremely low rates of device replacement and stroke, validating the favorable thrombotic profile and flexible patient management strategies facilitated by the device," he added.

Key findings for the HeartMate II study population were as follows:

Kaplan-Meier survival was 90 percent at six months and 85 percent at one year.
91 percent of patients achieved a successful outcome of transplant, cardiac recovery or ongoing LVAD support at six months.
Device replacement occurred at a rate of 0.01 events per patient-year over the duration of the study. No patients required a pump replacement during the first six months of support.
The total stroke rate was 0.08 events per patient-year.
Only 3 percent of patients developed right heart failure requiring a right ventricular assist device.
Rates of bleeding, infection, respiratory failure, and renal failure, among others, demonstrated meaningful improvements when compared to earlier published clinical trial results.

"The results of this post-approval study support the original findings from the pivotal clinical trial regarding the efficacy and risk profile of the HeartMate II LVAD in a post-market approval 'real world' BTT population. The results also show encouraging improvement in outcomes with the device in commercial use since completion of the clinical trial," the authors noted in the article. "Surprisingly, as the HeartMate II device became available outside of the controlled context of a clinical trial, excellent results were maintained or perhaps surpassed."

"We look forward to sharing these results, which have been incorporated into the HeartMate II label, as well as the positive outcomes we are seeing with the HeartMate II for Destination Therapy patients, as part of our efforts to educate the clinical community and to foster greater appreciation for the value of mechanical circulatory support in treating advanced-stage heart failure patients," Burbach said.

About HeartMate II

The Thoratec HeartMate II Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) is a mechanical circulatory support (MCS) device intended for a broad range of advanced-stage heart failure patients. HeartMate II is designed to restore blood flow and to improve survival, functional status, and quality of life. The HeartMate II, implanted alongside a patient's native heart, is designed to take over the pumping ability of the weakened heart's left ventricle, which is responsible for pumping oxygen-rich blood from the lungs throughout the body. HeartMate II is the only continuous flow LVAD that is FDA approved for both bridge-to-transplantation and destination therapy, or long-term, support.

About Thoratec

Thoratec is a world leader in therapies to address advanced-stage heart failure. The company's products include the HeartMate LVAS and Thoratec VAD, with more than 18,000 devices implanted in patients suffering from heart failure. Thoratec is headquartered in Pleasanton, California. For more information, visit the company's web site at

Thoratec, the Thoratec logo, HeartMate and HeartMate II are registered trademarks of Thoratec Corporation and IVAD is a trademark of Thoratec Corporation.

Many of the preceding paragraphs, particularly but not exclusively those addressing the performance of the company's devices in the clinical trial or commercial setting, contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Sections 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These statements can be identified by the words, "believes," "views," "expects," "plans," "projects," "hopes," "could," "will," and other similar words. Actual results, events or performance could differ materially from these forward-looking statements based on a variety of factors, many of which are beyond Thoratec's control. Therefore, readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance of these statements. Investors are cautioned that all such statements involve risks and uncertainties, including risks related to regulatory approvals, customer and physician acceptance of Thoratec products and the effects of healthcare reimbursement and coverage policies. Forward-looking statements contained in this press release should be considered in light of these factors and those factors discussed from time to time in Thoratec's public reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, such as those discussed under the heading, "Risk Factors," in Thoratec's most recent annual report on Form 10-K and as may be updated in subsequent SEC filings. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof. Thoratec undertakes no obligation to publicly release the results of any revisions to these forward-looking statements that may be made to reflect events or circumstances after the date hereof, or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.


And the good saga continues...

02 May 2011

I Have Lived Longer Than Bin Laden :-)

Thank you #THORATEC #LVAD and Columbia Presbyterian Hospital... I've lived longer than Osama Bin Laden #HOOAH!


Words aren't enough to thank over 6,000 US and Allied service members killed since 9/11 And respect and thanks to over 46,000


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

11 February 2011

The Bionic Bride Update:

2011 opened up with news that The Bionic Bride, Ally Smith Babineaux was hospitalized with complications and deterioration of her health... Through her 6 week battle her LVAD kept strong and kept Ally alive that led up to her victory. Ally's victory came in the shape of a heart, her heart transplant.

I was fortunate to have met Ally and her family a few months ago in NYC. The immediate impression left upon me of Ally and her family is a strong loving and beautiful family that NEVER gives up. Despite Ally having an LVAD, she managed to keep on top of her busy schedule flying across the country to attend events in an effort to raise heart health, LVAD and transplant awareness.

So during Ally's recentt battle, it didn't surprise me that she would pull through despite ALL odds. And if this wasn't enough, Ally had the LVAD community, Ally's Family and friends provide a world wide bond for Ally, made up of Prayers, wishes, good thoughts and love.

As this is written Ally's Mom sent me text to my mobile phone stating that Ally is doing great.

We wish Ally a quick and total recovery from her heart transplant. God Bless Ally and the donor family.

Happy Valentines Day Ally <3

The Today Show with Matt Lauer had Ally and her story on air while recently they have been updating their audience of Ally's recent events.

And the good saga continues...

06 February 2011

***Coming soon*** SEASON 2: "From The Bottom Of My LVAD" ...And the good saga continues... :-) :-) :-)

***Coming soon*** SEASON 2:
"From The Bottom Of My LVAD"
...And the good saga continues...
:-) :-) :-)

Until then let's all continue to send good thoughts and Prayers of strength and fast recovery to the Bionic Bride, the Smith and Babineaux Families. Go ALLY!!!

If anyone is wondering i have changed my FB profile photo on my personal and LVAD Fan page to honor Ally's strong fight :-)

And the good saga continues...

- Posted with an LVAD using BlogPress from my iPad :-)

14 January 2011

Former Vice President Cheney Exclusive Interview On The "Today Show"

Tuesday January 18th, Vice President Cheney will appear on the "Today Show". Check your local TV listing for time and channel. This is the VP's first major public appearance since having his LVAD implant.

The LVAD community routes the VP on... So tune in.

And The Good Saga Continues...

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02 January 2011

New York Columbia Presbyterian Hospital Roots / Some facts about the hospital that saved my life

Some facts about the hospital that saved my life. A rich and deep history of saving lives...

Key Dates:

1771: New York Hospital is chartered as the second public hospital in the 13 colonies.

1868: Founding of Presbyterian Hospital on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

1911: Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons becomes Presbyterian's affiliate.

1912: Cornell University Medical College becomes New York Hospital's affiliate.

1927: Completion of Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in upper Manhattan.

1932: New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center opens on the Upper East Side.

1991: Milstein Pavilion replaces the main Columbia-Presbyterian building.

1996: Columbia-Presbyterian and New York-Cornell agree to merge.

1998: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is formed from this merger.

And the good saga continues...

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