My OHSU heart story - by WESLEY

Wesley's Heart StoryIn life, we never know what or when something can happen.

About five years ago, I was diagnosed with heart failure: I was just 29. I didn't have a care in the world. It just came out of nowhere. My wife had just given birth to our child. I was healthy before but I ended up sick with really bad stomach pains.

Long story short: I was diagnosed with heart failure.

My doctor immediately sent me to OHSU for further testing. OHSU’s heart failure and transplant team discovered my heartbeat was significantly different than it should be. After extensive examinations and many tests, Dr. Song, Dr. Mudd and Dr. Gelow told me I’d be an excellent candidate for a heart transplant. But there was a shortage of donor organs, and they were concerned about my ability to survive until one became available. So they recommended I have a ventricular assist device (VAD) implanted to help me get to the point where I could safely have a heart transplant.

The VAD is essentially a heart pump. It's a rotary pump that is installed at the bottom of my heart, and rotates at a constant speed, supplying blood as if my heart were pumping regularly. I’ve been able to go back to work while I wait for a heart transplant.

Because of OHSU and my team, I have an amazing second chance at life. I was literally dying. I am very grateful for that opportunity to have a second chance. A chance to spend time with my family, a chance to see my children grow older, and a chance to get old with my wife.

Read more about ventricular assist devices (VAD) and meet our heart transplant team.