Randy Shepherd was able to complete a four-mile race in about an hour and forty minutes to finish a run in honor of war hero Pat Tillman last week. This was a huge victory for Shepherd, especially because he walked with an artificial heart that was powered by a 13.5 pound portable device that is fit into his backpack. To celebrate the huge milestone, Shepherd did an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit about his life without a human heart and how he completed that race.
Rheumatic fever weakened Shepherd?s heart when he was a child and open heart surgery at 17 allowed him to be active throughout his adulthood. Shepherd had to receive a heart transplant due to complications in recent years. Shepherd’s heart was removed last year and was replaced with the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart, which is a temporary heart for Shepherd while he waited for a human heart transplant. The artificial heart saves the lives of victims that have heart ventricles unable to pump enough blood.
The artificial heart replaces both heart ventricles and all four heart valves. It allows for 9.5 liters of blood flow minute to flow through each ventricle. On April 26th, Shepherd participated in the 4.2-mile Pat’s Run event in Phoenix, Arizona to inspire others with severe health issues and not let their conditions stop them.
[Image Credit: Syncardia]
[Sources: BusinessInsider / Reddit]