When asked what stood out about his care at Intermountain Heart Institute he said, “Teamwork—I saw it everywhere.”
Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) as Bridge to Heart Transplantation
Abraham Heuser’s business was thriving and life was going well for the 38-year-old carpenter — until he began to notice a drastic change in his energy. He started having trouble breathing, walking up stairs, and sleeping, and he even began to pass out. He knew something was wrong, but had no idea that his heart was beginning to fail him.
In May 2008, ten days after his youngest son was born, Abraham was diagnosed with idiopathic cardiomyopathy — a condition where the heart becomes weakened, enlarged, and cannot pump blood efficiently. He worked to manage his symptoms, but when his condition began to rapidly decline in 2011, he was placed on the heart transplant list at Intermountain Heart Institute.
I could feel myself deteriorating, Abraham said. When doctors discussed treatment options with him and recommended doing an emergency operation to insert an LVAD, a device that helps the heart circulate blood, he was prepared and on board. Before the operation, doctors told Abraham’s wife that without the LVAD he would not have survived more than a few days.
In January 2012, a donor heart became available, and Abraham successfully underwent heart transplant surgery. "It’s amazing to feel this heart in my chest just pounding away," he said. "I’m excited to invite my three sons and two daughters to get to re-know their dad — one that’s getting healthy versus one that’s been sick for three years," he said.