SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A unique treatment is giving new life to heart patients who had few options.
Bill Besore says he has more energy than he’s had in years, thanks to a special heart procedure. The 73-year-old received a Left Ventricular Assist Device, or also known as LVAD.
A LVAD is a device designed to assist the left side of the heart to pump blood when it is too weak to work efficiently on its own.
“It’s why I’m living,” explains Besore who received the LVAD.
It requires an open heart procedure to place the pump.
“It allows me to live, enables me to live,” Besore says.
Besore has a history of heart problems after having his first heart attack over two decades ago.
“I was kind of out of it already. I was mentally and physically practically gone,” Besore says.
After having a triple bypass and quitting smoking, he eventually got better. That’s until his congestive heart failure got worse.
“I was at the end of the road,” Besore says.
In 2015, he received the LVAD. Now, Besore says despite being tethered to machinery, he feels healthier than he has in years.
“If you want to live it’s worth making an effort,” Besore says. “Putting something into it so you get more out of it.”
Theresa Witt is Mercy’s LVAD Coordinator. She says while the LVAD is not a permanent fix, “it’s life support, it has bought patients some time and it is keeping their heart pumping artifically.”
Something they did not have before surgery.
“We start this journey together, and will end this journey together,” Witt says.
In advanced stages of heart failure, Witt says they need to be sick enough to meet criteria because when medicine and surgery have failed, a heart transplant is usually the last option.
“Once you start the clock with these devices it’s giving them everything else that there is, this is it. This is the last rabbit to pull out of the hat,” Witt says.
“Just having a bag to carry around and a motor in you the rest of your life was kind of concerning, but I decided to do it and I’m glad I did. And I would do it again,” Besore says.
Annina Besore is Bill’s wife. She’s a retired RN and she says every LVAD patient needs a caregiver.
“I wanted my husband and I wanted him healthy,” explains Annina Besore.
The 73 year old now has a new appreciation for life.
“I’m living a good life, it’s rewarding,” explains Besore.
And a new outlook towards his future.
“Looking forward to another 5-10 years.”
Bill and his wife are ambassadors for the LVAD procedure and help other patients understand it.
Bill feels so good, they’re planning on going to Gatlinburg this spring for a family reunion.