PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -A 51-year-old man we’ve been following as he waits for a heart transplant still has not gotten the call yet.
We first met Moses Hart in January. So, why has the wait been so long?
There is a system to determining who gets the next available heart.
Status on a transplant waiting list is the biggest influence on who gets an organ.
In the case of Hart, it boils down to the fact that he is just too healthy.
“I’ll make it. I will make it,” Hart said.
While always trying to stay positive, Hart is hopeful.
He has been waiting for a heart transplant for three years. What has kept him alive is the Ventricular Assist Device he has been connected to for two years.
“There are many factors that play into when you get transplanted. One is your blood group. Moses is an ‘O,’ which is most common. It’s usually the longest waiting time,” AGH Cardiovascular Institute Dr. George Sokos said.
Transplant status is the most important factor. Status 1A is the most urgent and is mostly people who are in the hospital and often attached to machines to help keep them alive.
Hart is status 1B because he is at home and doing well on the Ventricular Assist Device. Status two patients are the healthiest and rarely get a transplant.
“Virtually everyone we have transplanted this year has been a 1A,” Dr. Sokos said.
So far this year, Allegheny General Hospital has done 14 heart transplants. During the three years Hart has been waiting, 53 heart transplants have been done at AGH.
Hart’s own heart is too weak to pump blood throughout his body. The device, which is attached to his heart, does all the work.
He carries the pump and power source outside his body in a fanny pack.
“People who have heart pumps in like Moses, wonderful when people do well with those. The only people getting transplants typically are people who have had complications with that pump,” Dr. Sokos said.
However, that is not the case for Hart. He is doing well and has remained healthy.
“I don’t want Moses to have a problem to be able to get listed as a 1A, I want him to be healthy, but being healthy just makes you lower on the list,” Dr. Sokos said.
Back in June, Hart and his wife were chosen to attend the HeartWare Patient Summit in Miami.
HeartWare makes the pumping device Hart wears. The company invited seven other patients and their spouses who are doing well. They wanted to get input on how the device could be improved
It was an all-expenses paid trip for two days. Hart met others just like him and some have even been waiting longer than he has.
Dr. Sokos said Hart can survive as long as eight years on the device he wears.
“As long as I see the day light in the morning, it’s a positive that begins every day,” Hart said.
The heart is the hardest working muscle in the body. A total of 175 patients are waiting for a new heart in Pennsylvania and 70 of them are in western Pennsylvania.
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