St.Vincent Heart Center of Indiana patients get new lease on life with ventricular assist devices

Editorial Staff

In December 2009, Pat Adams learned her husband needed a ventricular assist device (VAD) to keep his failing heart pumping. Four years later, her husband Dick is happy and healthy—and Pat couldn’t be happier with the expert care her husband received at the St.Vincent Heart Center of Indiana.

“The Spirit of Caring here is unbelievable. We’ve been very fortunate to be associated with this team. They’ve given us four more years of seeing our grandchildren play soccer, going to church together, and just enjoying being a family. Dick and I are closer than we’ve ever been,” said Pat at St.Vincent’s 2013 VAD Luncheon—a special event to help celebrate the success of St.Vincent patients using VADs.

At this year’s luncheon, other patients echoed Pat’s sentiments about the St.Vincent Heart Center of Indiana. One of these patients, Roscoe Shaffer, recalled waking up six years ago and being unable to breathe. But after three open-heart surgeries and a VAD implant, Roscoe is once again enjoying life.

“My doctors at the St.Vincent Heart Center of Indiana have been amazing. Dr. David Heimansohn (cardiothoracic surgeon) is a marvelous person. Dr. Christopher Salerno (cardiothoracic surgeon) is a wonderful man. My nurses couldn’t have been nicer. The borrowed time they’ve helped give me has been fantastic. I’m so grateful that I’ve been able to share this time with my wife and to see my granddaughters grow.”

The St.Vincent Heart Center of Indiana has surgically implanted more than 310 VADs since the program began in 1997. VADs serve as either a “bridge” to a donor heart transplant, or as a permanent supplement to a patient’s own heart. Their purpose is not only to assist the heart’s function, but also to improve the patient’s quality of life.

Having our patients and their families share their success stories at this year’s luncheon was a special opportunity to see how our work has positively influenced the lives of others. And as VAD recipients spoke about their success this year, we couldn’t help but notice their joy—and how much life filled the room.