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What’s it like to live with a mechanical heart pump?

December 8, 2017
Jim Lynskey with his batteriesImage copyrightGreg Funnell/ British Heart Foundation
Image caption Jim Lynskey always has two battery packs and spare equipment with him

Fifty years ago, renowned surgeon Christiaan Barnard carried out the world’s first heart transplant, a technique that today has become routine.

Up to 300 people are currently on the UK’s transplant list and many are fitted with mechanical pumps as a “bridge” to getting a new heart.

Called left ventricular assist devices (LVADs), they help circulate blood around the body.

But many spend years relying on the battery-powered pump while their wait for a transplant continues. So what is life like for these people?

Jim Lynskey, a 22-year-old university student, was fitted with an LVAD in 2015, aged just 19. He is believed to be the youngest person in the country to have one.