I've been called heartless, but it's always been a figure of speech. A Michigan man suffering from a debilitating disease actually was heartless. While waiting for a transplant, doctors kept him alive without a heart for 17 months!

Stan Larkin and his brother, Dominique, were diagnosed with familial cardiomyopathy, a condition that eventually causes heart failure. When Larkin's ticker gave out in December of 2014, he was fitted with a SynCardia portable driver, a machine that uses compressed air to help carry out heart functions in the human body.

Stan lived with the machine doing the work of his heart until May of this year when a heart compatible to his blood type finally became available. That's an amazing 17months without a heart in his chest!

“They were both very, very ill when we first met them in our intensive care units," Dr. Jonathan Haft who performed the transplant last month told uofmhealth.org.  "We wanted to get them heart transplants, but we didn't think we had enough time. There's just something about their unique anatomic situation where other technology wasn't going to work."

“It was an emotional rollercoaster,” Larkin, 25, said at a news conference when he described living with the total artificial heart that was implanted to keep him alive until a donor heart became available.

“I got the transplant two weeks ago and I feel like I could take a jog as we speak. I want to thank the donor who gave themselves for me. I’d like to meet their family one day. Hopefully they’d want to meet me.”

Dominique also relied on the machine until his heart transplant in December of 2015.

You could help someone live long after your death if you sign up to become an organ donor. It's easy, and let's face it, you won't need it after you go.

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