Phillip Groves, 23, was a young Marine preparing for a deployment to Iraq. During training, he began experiencing strange symptoms. Simple tasks, such as sitting up in bed in the morning, left him feeling winded. After medical evaluation, he was diagnosed with stage 4 heart failure. He was 20 years old.
Groves was referred to the Advanced Heart Failure Program at Jewish Hospital. He began treatment there in January 2009 and underwent open-heart surgery to have a LVAD implanted to help his heart function.
Later that year, physicians discussed with Groves the possibility of improving his condition and removing his LVAD. Groves was immediately on board. He was treated with the recovery protocol and in July 2011, his heart was strong enough to remove the LVAD.
“When they said I could have the LVAD out, it was pretty exciting,” said Groves. “I’d had the LVAD for two years. Once it was out, it was nice to take a normal shower again…and to be able to sleep any way that I wanted.”
“If there is someone out there with an LVAD who may be a candidate for this program, I would encourage them to listen to the doctors. It’s definitely worth it if it’s an option,” he said.