LVAD Implant Saved Jorge from Congestive Heart Failure

Jorge Cardiac Patient

Jorge was studying political science at Florida International University when he began feeling chest pain. It made simple things like walking from one class to another a challenge for the 26-year-old.

He visited several doctors who prescribed pain medications and therapies, but were unable to determine exactly what was causing his pain. After four months, an echocardiogram finally revealed Jorge had congestive heart failure and he was referred to Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute.

At Memorial, a multidisciplinary team of nationally recognized cardiologists including the advanced heart failure team came together to fully diagnose Jorge's condition. After reliving his pain, they began to create a TotalHeart care plan. “As soon as I was here, it was like something magical happened to me,” said Jorge. “In less than a day, I didn't have any more pain and I felt something inside of me wanted to fight again.”

Ioana Dumitru, MD, medical director of adult cardiac transplant, heart failure and cardiomyopathy at Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute, said Jorge's case was very extreme. “All the medications and therapies they tried at other hospitals had failed, his organs were starting to shut down and he was very, very short of breath,” she said.

Jorge's TotalHeart team determined that he needed an intra-aortic balloon pump to help him become healthy enough to tolerate two surgeries to help strengthen his heart. The first successful surgery was for the implantation of a left ventricular assist device, and the second was for a temporary right ventricular device implant.

Memorial's focus on patient- and family-centered care meant that Jorge and his family were actively involved in every decision about Jorge's treatment.

“Jorge had strong social support, a very loving mother and a very loving girlfriend,” said Enrique Gongora, MD, medical director of the adult cardiac surgical transplant program at Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute. “They were at his bedside, all the time, encouraging him and helping him get stronger.”

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That was a big help to Jorge.

“The whole thing is amazing,” Jorge added. “And now life, every single day, is magical. We're now expecting a baby boy, which will make us really, really happy, our first boy.”

The TotalHeart team at Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute is now helping Jorge prepare for the next step toward a stronger, healthier heart – evaluation for a heart transplant.

“There will be some rough spots in the road ahead, but now I know there is hope,” said Jorge. “Memorial means the world to me. They saved my life.”