Intermountain Healthcare celebrates 20 years of artificial heart transplants

Posted at 10:42 PM, Apr 30, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-01 00:42:17-04

SALT LAKE CITY – Patients, families and medical staff are celebrating 20 years of saving lives with the artificial heart program under Intermountain Healthcare.

In 1993, LDS Hospital became the first center in Utah to implant a left ventricular assist device.

Since then, 572 devices have been implanted, including the LVAD device and total artificial hearts.

Gayle Rumsey was the first person in Utah to get the LVAD transplant 20 years ago. He traveled to Salt Lake City from Idaho for the celebration.

“In 87 they told me there was nothing more they could do for me. They said, ‘We can medicate you and you might have three or three and a half years,’ and then this comes around right at the right time. I happened to be here. If I had been there, there’s no way I would’ve been alive,” Rumsey said.

Intermountain Medical Center is one of a small number of hospitals in the nation that implant total artificial hearts.