Your Health: Left ventricular assist device - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Your Health: Left ventricular assist device

DECATUR, AL (WAFF) -

Imagine going to a doctor for a consultation and they put you in the hospital right away for heart failure. That's what happened to a north Alabama man who was told he had heart failure.

Terry Compton knew something was wrong when he would lose his breath so easily. He said he was getting more tired from walking back and forth at his job.

During emergency surgery for his gallbladder, his heart went into a fib. One doctor visit led to another until he found himself at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

The diagnosis was heart failure. Compton‘s heart was no longer able to pump enough blood to meet his body's needs. He went on a transplant list while his family worried.

"Found out that the best procedure would be to have an LVAD implanted,” said Compton.

That stands for "left ventricular assist device.” Compton said it allows the heart to rest by doing 85 percent of the work pumping blood and oxygen to the rest of the body.

Compton said the LVAD being implanted is a bridge to recovery for some people. It's not made to come out unless someone is having a transplant. That makes the bridge to recovery very rare.

"It's very unlikely that someone's LVAD is turned off,” he said. “In my case, it was disconnected. I still have the pump implanted in my heart.”

"In my case at Vanderbilt, this is the first time they ever disconnected one,” he said.

He said from a medical standpoint, they didn't have any data on what to do, so they kept him an extra couple of days just to study him.  He said his doctors were amazed.

"With my faith and believing in God and praying and trusting in my lord,” he said.

"This was a miracle, This was a God thing,” said Paula Compton.

And now that trust and healing is allowing him more precious time with his family.

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