PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Some 70 patients are now waiting for heart transplants in the Pittsburgh area.
One who’s been on the waiting list for two-years, is 51-year-old Moses Hart.
Moses and his wife Donna call the Gerald McGinnis Cardiovascular Institute at Allegheny General Hospital their second home.
“I just can’t wait for this near heart. It’s a gift. It’s coming soon, it’s coming soon,” Hart tells KDKA’s Brenda Waters.
Hart found out 10 years ago during a physical that he had a heart problem, even though he didn’t have any signs or symptoms.
He was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, which means his heart doesn’t pump enough blood.
“We are pretty clear that his heart was damage likely from a virus that left him with a very weak heart,” AGH Dr. Ray Benza said.
Unfortunately, doctors had even worse news.
His heart was so sick, he would not have survived the time it usually takes to wait for a heart transplant.
Doctors determined that he was a good candidate for a ventricular assist device.
A year ago, Hart had surgery to implant the device which takes blood from a lower chamber of his heart and helps pump it to his body and vital organs like a healthy heart would do.
“His heart is doing minimal amounts of work. The heart is not stopped. It does work in tandem with the device, but the device is doing about 80-90 percent of the work right now,” Benza says.
The pump and power source for the device are outside of Hart’s body. Tubes connect the pump to his heart through small holes in his stomach. Hart carries the outside parts in a fanny pack.
Doctors say survival with the assist device is quite good, years possibly.
Hart is hoping the wait won’t be much longer.
“This whole process has changed my perspective on life. I don’t worry about the little things,” Hart’s wife Donna says.
“I’m waiting for that special gift to come. The doctors say the better shape I am in, the better the heart is going to be. I’m trying to be in so much better shape. Once I get that heart I can prove to doctors I’m gonna take care of it. That’s a special gift.”
Hart carries a cell phone with him at all times and is never more than 45 minutes away from Allegheny General Hospital.