SURVIVOR STORY: Glenn Rockwood

Name:                    Glenn Rockwood Location:              Albany, NY Diagnosis:            Cardiomyopathy (40s) Transplanted:    February 8, 2017 (62)

For nearly 20 years, Glenn lived his best life knowing eventually he would need a heart transplant. Diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and implanted with an internal cardiac device (ICD) defibrillator in his 40s, 

Glenn was equipped with a series of ICDs and eventually had to add a pacemaker after he developed a serious infection around his defibrillator. Unfortunately, during treatment for the infection, Glenn had to undergo open-heart surgery to remove old infected wires, which caused damage to his heart. 

From there, Glenn’s quality of life began to degrade. He was no longer able to exercise, and in less than two months he found himself back at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in Boston in early 2017 with a quick decision to make.

Glenn’s doctors at MGH explained his options and placed him on the transplant list. Since MGH is part of the OCS™ Heart clinical trial, they also offered him a place on the OCS™ heart transplant list. For Glenn, who was facing a wait of up to 45 days to a year for a traditional donor heart, the OCS™ option increased availability and could minimize his wait time.

He wanted to open up as many doors as possible in order to have the longest life chances.

Four days later, MGH found Glenn a heart through the OCS™ trial, and the next day they did the transplant.

Since his transplant, Glenn has had no problems: “I have to say, these four years have flown by. I’ve had no rejection whatsoever. I’m very healthy.”

He walks 20 miles a week. “I feel great. It’s a whole new life for me!” 

Knowing what he knows now–and having met people whose health degraded considerably while waiting for their donor heart–Glenn says there are a number of reasons he would prefer to have an OCS™ heart versus a normal transplant heart. For instance, the donor’s heart is kept alive and functioning, and doctors can see it in real-time, test it, and make all the proper diagnostics on it to make sure it is a proper fit and working properly.

Glenn continues to do well, is on the board of the American Heart Association, and participates in the annual Capital Region Heart Walk and Run at the University at Albany.

As for OCS™, Glenn feels, “Now that the technology exists, let’s use it to everyone’s best advantage. Let’s make it work for everybody.”

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