BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – At one time, Tom Desmond said only 25 percent of his heart worked. He said the left side was dead and the right side was struggling.
For a while he thought he only had months left to live.
“I really couldn’t walk a lot,” Desmond said. “I just couldn’t do it. It was too hard. I was out of breath real easy. I couldn’t walk a lot. I couldn’t really do much.”
After three heart attacks, Desmond was diagnosed with congestive heart failure.
“I couldn’t get a heart transplant or a pump and this was my last shot,” he said.
Last year he was approved for a clinical trial. Desmond is the first person in western New York that’s received the Parachute.
“The Parachute is a device that’s used to partition the heart to block off the part of the heart that’s injured and robbing the heart of its
power,” Dr. Joseph Gelormini, an interventional cardiologist at the Buffalo Heart Group, said. “When a certain part of the heart is injured, we have an opportunity using this device to restore the function of the heart.”
The Buffalo Heart Group is one of 80 places in the United States that’s participating in a clinical trial for the Parachute.
It was approved in Europe, but it’s still being tested nationwide.
Dr. Gelormini hopes it will one day be approved by the FDA because there’s limited treatment options for people with this Desmond’s condition. Until then, only a select number of people can try it.
For Desmond, it has turned his life around.
“Now it’s a lot better. I can do a lot of walking. I’m renovating the house,” said Desmond. “Life’s not easy. You do what you can do, but you can’t give up. You’ve got to have hope.”