Posts tagged ‘artificial heart’

An artificial heart saved my life: LVAD patients and families share stories at reunion

Al Dolatoski and his wife Joyce hold hands and hold microphones as they sing Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe” during the LVAD Celebration of Life. Al is sitting in a wheelchair and wearing a sweatshirt and hat. He has an LVAD hanging by a strap around his shoulder. Joyce is wearing a flowered dress and hat.

Al Dolatoski and his wife Joyce sing their rendition of Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe” during the LVAD Celebration of Life.

By Bonnie Adams

Al Dolatoski felt short of breath and just didn’t feel well on Dec. 16, so his wife took him to an area hospital. There, he suffered a massive heart attack and underwent emergency heart bypass surgery.

Joyce Dolatoski remembers the panic she felt when he repeatedly coded in the intensive care unit and was resuscitated five times. She was relieved when told that he was being flown to Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

The couple told their story at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s annual Left Ventricular Assist Devices (LVAD) Reunion on April 26. The six patients who attended share a history of severe heart failure that required an LVAD to pump blood throughout their bodies. About the size of a D battery, the devices can be used as a bridge to a heart transplant or as an alternative to transplant.

LVAD Celebration 2019 - Milton S. Hershey Medical Center (more…)

May 15, 2019 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

Unique division brings heart devices to life

An engineer, a surgeon, and a machinist walk into a conference room.

It might sound like the start of a bad joke, but it’s a regular scene in Penn State Hershey’s Division of Artificial Organs, where experts in vastly different fields bring their knowledge together to design, manufacture, implant and test artificial hearts in one location.

Cardio-thoracic surgeon Dr. William S. Pierce formed the team in 1970 when he came to Penn State’s then-new Milton S. Hershey Medical Center after working on artificial heart development for the National Institutes for Health. Penn State’s strong engineering staff and Hershey’s suburban location offered the resources to develop the kind of collaborative program he envisioned.

Eric Yeager

Eric Yeager makes blood sacs in Penn State Hershey’s Division of Artificial Organs by dipping polished stainless steel molds into honey-colored liquid polyurethane polymer.

Forty-five years later, Dr. Gerson Rosenberg, chief of the Division of Artificial Organs, can walk down the hall from his office to a machine shop, plastics lab, metal-polishing station and rooms where mock circulatory testing is done on heart-assist devices for adults and children. An assist device helps a sick heart do its work so it can rest while the patient awaits a transplant, so researchers are always looking for ways to improve the devices to work better and for longer.

<<View a video of Dr. Piece and Dr. Rosenberg’s work>>

At a nearby facility, veterinarians provide pre- and post-op care for animals implanted with pediatric heart-assist devices and a new pneumatic heart pump — operated by air pressure — that could improve the lives of young adults and adolescents born with congenital heart defects.

“We are unique in that everything from start to finish is done in one location,” Rosenberg said. (more…)

August 5, 2015 at 12:15 pm 1 comment


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