Technology lets man live without a pulse

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Technology Lets Man Live Without a Pulse

OKLAHOMA CITY – You won't be able to find Matthew Hilton's pulse.

That's because a machine is running his heart for him.

"It's very interesting that patients with the device no longer have a regular pulse, and when we listen, we can hear a very faint heartbeat in the background, but what we hear is the hum of the machine," said Dr. Douglas Harstmanshof, a physician at Integris.

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It's called a Left Ventrical Assist Device, or LVAD, and it sounds like something from a sci-fi movie.

"Caleb, our 4-year-old son, compares it to Iron Man because he sees dad with a device helping his heart pump," Rachel Hilton said.

It's keeping this dad alive after he nearly died from heart failure late last year at just 30-years-old.

"Hardly walk a block without getting winded or sick and now I'm able to do workouts," Matthew Hilton said.

Right now, 100 patients in the region have the LVAD.

The first one in the state was implanted in 2008 and that patient is now living a healthy life after a heart transplant.

"We think that there is a great unmet need out there in terms of people that could use this that aren't getting access to it," Dr. Horstmanshof said.

Dr. Doug Horstmanshof said that's because people either don't know it exists or don't have enough information about it.

Patients also have to be the right candidate.

"We want to make sure it's time. We want to make sure it's right for them, and then we want to make sure they have a good chance of success," Dr. Horstmanshof said.

Matthew almost wasn't able to get the procedure due to his poor condition.

A year later, he's able to see his children head to school.

"I'm thankful because it keeps me alive longer, enough to get better and move toward the next step," Matthew said. "I don't want to lose that opportunity. The LVAD has given me a second chance to get things better."

The family is hosting a heart transplant benefit, called 'Bazaar and Bean Luncheon' and at the Crown Center, located at 13300 S. Western Ave., on Aug. 22.

The benefit will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

You can also help with Matthew's medical expenses here.

For more information email, benefit@new-foundations.com.

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