Five million Americans have heart failure, which can lead to heart attacks. It is also the cause of death for one out of nine people. Now, a one-of-a-kind program is motivating people to engage in heart-healthy activities and helping them cherish a second chance at life.
Kenneth Arnentrout, who received a heart transplant in 2015, could never have imagined holding his own 40-year-old, congenitally diseased heart.
"It's gone, it's away from me, it's out of me, and now I have something that'll actually enable me to live and accomplish the things to take away the limitations that heart gave me before," Arnentrout said.
Holding their own hearts is surreal for these successful transplant patients and their families.
"I try to emphasize to them when I see them that they're very special. Because there are only about 2,200, 2,300 heart transplants a year in the USA," said Dr. William Roberts, cardiac pathologist at Baylor Medical Center.
John Bell, 73, worried his personality would change living with another person's heart.
"The emotional part resides up here, not here," Bell said.
Every recipient expresses daily gratitude to their donors.
"And I feel like I owe it to my donor to do the best I can with what I've been given, the gift I've received so I want to take care of my heart," Arnentrout said.
"We've got to prevent this from happening, and we prevent it from happening by more and more of us taking better care of ourselves. If everybody in America lost ten pounds, the health of this nation would skyrocket," said Dr. Roberts.
Since the program began in 2014, 50 patients have returned to hold their hearts, some have made two trips. About half of all transplant recipients survive at least ten years, can have an active social life and return to work.
If you would like more information, check out the medical breakthroughs on the web at www.ivanhoe.com.
Program helps people become more heart healthy
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