Your Health ;
; A tiny heart pump is saving lives.
; Cardiac patients are back from the brink.
; The device gives them active, vital years.
Still a Wonderful Life
My heart was failing. I was dying. It was as simple as that,” Bill Sowden, 80, remembers. “They told me I had four to six weeks to live. I began to put my affairs in order. I even arranged for the music I wanted performed at my funeral.” That was more than five years ago. A recent Monday found Sowden
at a three-hour rehearsal for Alive & Kickin’, one of four vocal groups he sings in. When
he’s not preparing for a musical performance or heading out for dinner with his wife,
Diane, he’s developing a website for a small distribution company he founded.
Sowden is alive and kicking today thanks to a miniature pump, called a left ven-
tricle assist device, or LVAD, implanted just beneath his heart. The device takes blood
from the lower chamber of his heart and pumps it into the aorta, where it is delivered
throughout the body. It’s connected via a flexible wire that emerges from his abdomen
and hooks into a controller and battery packs he carries in a shoulder holster. Sowden’s
BILL AND DIANE
something to sing
about. Given a
month to live, he
had even arranged
his own funeral
music until a heart
saved his life.