Teen Takes Artificial Heart to School as She Waits for Transplant


Artificial Heart Pump a Bridge to Transplant

When she's at home, Kyah can plug herself into the wall. If there's a power outage, the city has a backup generator on standby, in case her four back-up batteries run out. And if she's in a car, she can use an adapter to get power from the cigarette lighter.

The artificial heart, called a Heartware Ventricular System, was FDA-approved for use in kids Nov. 20, 2012 -- nine days after Kyah became one of a handful of American kids using the pump as a "bridge" to a transplant. Because it's continuous flow, meaning it doesn't contract and relax like a real heart, Kyah hears a constant hum instead of having a pulse.

"I can feel it inside, vibrating," she said. "It's very noisy."

Kyah, who wore skinny jeans and a loose gray t-shirt with a heart on the chest for her first day back at school, doesn't love the black bag. But her mom hopes to change that.

"We talked about bedazzling the bag," said Danielle DeSimone. "I'm sure we could do something."

But mother and daughter hope the bag and the device it powers are a very temporary fix.

"It's a little nerve-racking," Kyah said of the indefinite wait for a transplant. "I guess I'll just stay positive."

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: The fake baby a man was carrying as he and another woman tried to sneak into the mother and baby unit at Mercy Medical Center in Merced, Calif., hospital officials said.
Dignity Health Security/Mercy Medical Center Merced
dpa, Jens Wolf/AP Photo
PHOTO: U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston stopped a would be smuggler from bringing nearly 7 ounces of cocaine into the country in tamales, Aug. 22, 2014.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
PHOTO: Giant panda Bao Bao celebrates her first birthday at the Smithsonians National Zoo, Aug. 23, 2014.
David Galen, Smithsonians National Zoo