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Each year, thousands die while waiting for needed donated organs, but a man in Michigan was able to survive the stretch by using a total artificial heart. Each year, thousands die while waiting for needed donated organs, but a man in Michigan was able to survive the stretch by using an external mechanical heart. Stan Larkin was born with familial cardiomyopathy, and the condition rendered his own vital organ inoperable about a year and a half ago. In December of 2014, doctors at the University of Michigan outfitted him with an artificial heart and a SynCardia Freedom Portable Driver. The roughly 13-pound device, which Larkin carried around in a backpack, took over the blood pumping duties until a transplant was an option. Last month, Larkin, who is now 25, finally got the donated heart he’d been waiting for. He recently said at a press conference, “It was an emotional rollercoaster… I want to thank the donor who gave themselves for me. I’d like to meet their family one day.”

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