Hoosier teen survives heart failure thanks to new experimental pump

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By Tanae Howard

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Oct. 2, 2014)-- A local teen is enjoying life after being hit with a life threatening illness at 19 years of age.

Lucas Jackson discovered he had congestive heart failure and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy after his father died from the same condition nine months earlier.

"He passed away about a month after he found out he had it and that lead us to get me and my siblings checked for it," said Lucas Jackson.

After their father died he and his siblings got tested for heart disease. The family discovered Lucas and a younger sibling had congestive heart failure. Lucas needed a new heart.

Due to a slim donor list doctors at St. Vincent Heart Center of Indiana realized Lucas was the perfect candidate for a new heart pump the hospital was testing as part of a clinical trial.

"Lucas was dependent on an IV medication to keep his heart functioning for patients to get a device like this they have to have a expected mortality. I think Lucas would've gone to have progressive heart failure and would've passed away within six months if a heart had not become available or a pump was not put in," said Dr. Chris Salerno.

The device is called the Heart Mate III. It's a small implantable device that helps circulate blood throughout the body. It's designed to be more patient friendly. Dr. Salerno hopes it will reduce the amount of blood clots in patients who use these type of devices.

Lucas is the second patient in the United States to receive the device.

The clinical trial was approved for 30 devices in the U.S. To qualify for the trial you must have class four heart failure and have tried all other therapies first.

Lucas is grateful for his new lifeline and is looking forward to going to college and racing on the dirt track again.

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