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November 20, 1991

Portable Heart Pump Recipient Recovering Well; Evaluation Begins of Role for This Technology

JAMA. 1991;266(19):2666-2667. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470190012003

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BEFORE he steps into the stall each morning, Michael Templeton makes sure he has his "shower cap" on. The 33-year-old electronics technician from Humble, Tex, isn't trying to keep his hair dry—he must protect (with a cap-like plastic cover) the wire attached to the device that powers his heart.

Shortly after having the fully portable, battery-run ventricular-assist device called HeartMate implanted in his abdomen to assist his own intact but failing heart (September 3), Templeton said he had "not felt this good in a year and a half." That was when the effects of idiopathic cardiomyopathy began to leave him short of breath and with rapidly declining energy and spirits.

Six weeks after the operation, surgeon Oscar H. (Bud) Frazier, MD, of the Texas Heart Institute, Houston, said Templeton "goes through the cafeteria line without anybody noticing him—the first time a patient with a pump inside him pumping 5 liters