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Utah Artificial Heart Program marks 15 years



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A program that's been saving lives through the innovation of mechanical hearts celebrated 15 years this weekend.

The Utah Artificial Heart Program began with only three doctors at LDS Hospital in 1993. It has since grown to a team of 40 specialists who have implanted almost 400 heart devices.

Dr. Brad Rasmusson says this is the most complicated therapy in medicine history. Rasmusson is one of the founders of the procedure and is still very much in the program.

Over the years, it has helped patients like 58-year-old David Irvine of Bountiful. He suffered a massive heart attack in January 2007. After that, he received two implanted heart-assist devices. One device was removed shortly thereafter, but the other one kept him alive until a heart transplant procedure was performed.

Irvine says the technological miracle provided led to another miracle, that of a transplant donor. The transplant was performed on a very memorable Father's Day 2007.

Casey Wayman

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