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Total Artificial Heart Recipient Heads Home for the Holidays
with New Donor Heart & Kidney

 Husband and Wife's New Year's Resolutions: Become Advocates for Organ Donation, Meet the Donor Family and Inspire Love and Peace Amongst Others  

SynCardia Total Artificial Heart recipient Jeremiah Kliesing, pictured with his wife Jennifer
SynCardia Total Artificial Heart recipient Jeremiah Kliesing, pictured with his wife Jennifer, was discharged from Texas Heart Institute on Nov. 29, after receiving a dual heart and kidney transplant on Nov. 11.

Tucson, Arizona (December 15, 2011) – Last month, with the holiday season just around the corner, Jennifer Kliesing was preparing to give her husband the ultimate gift: one of her kidneys. In June, her husband Jeremiah had suffered two heart attacks and was subsequently implanted with the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart at Texas Heart Institute (THI) at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston. When Jeremiah's kidney function had not returned after several months, Jennifer had been tested and approved as a match for her husband. However, on Nov. 11, a matching donor heart and kidney became available, and Jeremiah received the dual transplant he had been waiting for.

"I know every wife says she loves her husband, but Jeremiah and I have always had something extra," Jennifer wrote in an email to SynCardia after her husband received the Total Artificial Heart. "I was terrified several times that I would go through the rest of my life without him, and SynCardia let him live… he's thrilled to be here."

SynCardia Total Artificial Heart recipient Jeremiah Kliesing, pictured with his wife Jennifer
"I know every wife says she loves her husband, but Jeremiah and I have always had something extra," says Jennifer Kliesing.

Jeremiah suffered his first heart attack at home on June 5, and was admitted to the local VA hospital. Doctors told him the heart attack had caused so much damage that he had no veins left to do a bypass. Five days later, he suffered a second heart attack in the hospital and would've died if not for 20 people spending a total of five hours doing CPR to keep him alive. Clinging to life, Jeremiah was transferred to THI, where he was sedated, intubated, on biventricular support and undergoing dialysis. To save Jeremiah's life, on July 24, THI doctors implanted SynCardia's Total Artificial Heart to bridge him to a heart transplant.

SynCardia Total Artificial Heart recipient Jeremiah Kliesing hugs his 6-year-old son John
Jeremiah Kliesing hugs his 6-year-old son John after returning home from Texas Heart Institute with a new heart and kidney.
"We are thankful for each other," said Jennifer. "We have each enriched the other's life by being a constant source of support during rough times and a constant source of joy all the time. We are thankful for God who is The Third in our marriage, and wraps his arms around us both. We are profoundly thankful for friends and family and medical staff worldwide for ushering in all manner of technology and wisdom that saved Jeremiah's life, and supported us both with attention and concern, food and money, and thousands of prayers."

Jeremiah was discharged from the hospital with his new donor heart and kidney on Nov. 29, 2011. For the holidays, the couple is planning on hosting a small gathering with close family at their home on Christmas Eve, and a quiet movie marathon on Christmas Day. Jennifer says their New Year's resolutions for 2012 are to be advocates for organ donation, to seek a meeting with their donor family and to inspire as many folks as possible to love each other and be peaceful towards one another.  

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About the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart
SynCardia Systems, Inc. (Tucson, AZ) is the privately-held manufacturer of the world's first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE approved Total Artificial Heart … read more.

Also on the Texas Heart Institute website:

Four Total Artificial Hearts Implanted in 12 Days - News Release August 2011


For media inquiries please contact:
Director of Public Affairs
Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital
Frank Michel  ♦  832-355-9510  ♦  fmichel@heart.thi.tmc.edu

For THI and St. Luke's media profiles, see Public Affairs.

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