UW Health Patient Taken Off Heart Transplant List after LVAD, Bariatric Treatment

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Madison, Wisconsin - In an extremely rare outcome, UW Health patient Tom Satterlee was taken off the heart transplant list last month because his weight loss surgery enabled his heart function to improve.


The Rockford native's journey began in 2012, when he had a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) inserted to help his heart function. An LVAD is a device implanted in a patient's chest to help a weakened heart pump blood. It is often considered a temporary measure until the patient can get a new heart.


The LVAD helped with Tom's heart, but to get on the heart transplant list, he also needed to lose weight. At 436 pounds, he decided he needed weight loss (bariatric) surgery.


On Dec. 26, 2017, Tom underwent a sleeve gastrectomy performed by Dr. Michael Garren, a UW Health bariatric surgeon. Since the surgery, Tom has lost more than 200 pounds.


At the end of August 2020, Tom didn't feel quite right. A known risk associated with an LVAD is clotting of the device, which turned out to be the case. Eventually, Tom underwent surgery Sept. 3 at University Hospital to replace the LVAD.


However, when UW Health heart surgeons went to replace it, his heart function had improved enough that Tom's heart was able to pump blood adequately without assistance and the heart pump could be removed. Only about 2 percent of patients can have an LVAD removed without a heart transplant. Tom credits his weight loss surgery team and countless health care staff at UW Health for getting him off the heart transplant list and saving his life.





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Date Published: 10/13/2020

News tag(s):  daily updatebariatric surgeryweight managementheart

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