Medical Devices

Wow of the Week: Life with a partial mechanical heart “couldn’t be better”

Wow of the Week is a weekly post on share-worthy medical technologies, stories, people or events.

This week we stumbled across a guy by the name of M. Joshua Morris, who has devoted two and a half years of blog posts, tweets and Facebook updates to a medical device called a left ventricular assist device.

His is made by medical device company Thoratec, but there are several other models being developed or tested, or already cleared for use in other countries. They’re used to partially replace the pumping function of the left ventricle of a failing heart, either temporarily or permanently, in patients who can’t find a donor heart or may not survive a transplant. A device is implanted just below the diaphragm and includes an external, wearable system with batteries and a small controller.


This patient-ambassador has all the reason to be enthusiastic about the device – he’s living an active life and appears to also be building motorcycles three years after having being told he had end-stage heart failure. He writes that his “quality of life couldnt be better.” It turns out more than 10,000 patients have received the same device, and there’s an online resource community called MyLVAD devoted to supporting patients with them.

It’s another example of the empowered patient movement and how social media is changing the way we get health information.

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