Thursday, February 24, 2011

Two hearts beating as one

Can two hearts beat better than one? For one Californian man, yes they can.

36-year-old Tyson Smith is a man born with a heart condition that caused his heart to enlarge over his lifetime. The heart of  average person is the size of an adult fist, Smith’s heart is three times that size.

Smith was not going to be able to continue living with his condition so surgery was required. His doctor decided against a traditional heart transplant as a solution for him. Instead he was the recipient of a rare procedure called heterotopic transplantation. Or more easily known as a piggy back transplant. 

Dr. Jack Copeland, of UC San Diego’s Thorton Hospital,  took a donated heart and attached it directly to Smith’s own. Now the two are working together and beating as one. The procedure cost far less than a traditional transplant as saved Smith from having multiple surgeries.

Before the surgery doctors predicted Smith had only one month to live. He was sleeping 20 hours a day.

He is recovering well as is expected to go home in as little as two weeks.

Smith, who is a father of four, has been inspired by the procedure and wants to go back to school to become a radiologist.

Maybe now Tyson Smith can love twice as many people. Or maybe experience heartbreak two times as much.