What used to be a temporary treatment to keep patients alive long enough to get a heart transplant, is now replacing transplants altogether. See how much heart devices have shrunk and how it's changing the way doctors use them.
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New Improved Metal Hearts Melissa Medalie: Cardiologist Maria Mountis' life is dedicated to helping hearts at the Cleveland Clinic and also, at home. Dr. Mountis' dad suffered from heart failure. Since then, she's dedicated her life to helping others survive. She's experienced the evolution of treatment. Maria Mountis: You can really see a difference, less than a pound and much smaller and closer to over four pounds with this particular device. Melissa Medalie: LVADs or Left Ventricular Assist Devices were once only used to keep a patient alive long enough to get a donor heart. Now, this smaller LVAD can be used for patients who aren't eligible for a transplant. Maria Mountis: They would live with this device for the rest of their lives. Melissa Medalie: The old LVAD could only be used for a limited time. It's so big, most women and children couldn't carry the weight. A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine reports a lower risk of stroke and clotting with the smaller device. A HeartMate 2 is keeping Sylvia Coleman alive and walking today. Just a few years ago, she could barely stand up. Sylvia Coleman: I couldn’t walk no further than about ten feet. I felt like I had this ton on my chest. Melissa Medalie: Four weeks after getting a new LVAD, Sylvia was trekking around the neighborhood. Four months after that, she was traveling around the world. Maria Mountis: She was gone for three months. We didn’t have a call from her.—to me, she also went on a cruise while she was down there. Sylvia Coleman: I had a bluff in the boat. Melissa Medalie: Sylvia says the good times are just beginning. I'm Melissa Medalie reporting.

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