Open Mics With Doctor Stites 2-1-23

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


   The University of Kansas Health System is treating a total of 55 COVID patients today, 50 Monday. Other significant numbers:

  •  29 with the active virus today, 25 Monday
  •  7 in ICU, 6 Monday
  •  6 on a ventilator, 6 Monday

Key points from today’s guests:

Richard Lawrenz, 78-year-old Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) recipient

  • Suffered from heat failure which crept up on him over time
  • Noticed that he had gradually begun getting tired a lot easier
  • Did not qualify for a heart transplant because of previous heart surgery and age
  • LVAD is a permanent device for him which has allowed him to resume his career as an airplane mechanic

Zubair Shah, M.D., LVAD Program Medical Director, The University of Kansas Health System

  • Device is used to help blood circulate through entire body when the left ventricle does not function properly
  • Some patients use LVAD as a bridge to keep them going until a heart transplant is available while for others it is a permanent device
  • Operates on a battery that needs charging, similar to your mobile phone
  • Average length of hospital stay is 5 to 7 days

Matthew Danter, M.D., Cardiac Transplant Surgical Director, The University of Kansas Health System

  • This device is a “paradigm shift” in the treatment of advanced heart failure
  • The next generation of LVADs will be smaller and fully implanted with no external wires or batteries
  • This device helps people live longer and live well, keeping them out of the hospital and getting back to a near normal life
  • Only restriction with current device is swimming, as there are many electrical wires coming from the chest

Steve Stites, MD, chief medical officer, The University of Kansas Health System

  • The health system set a record last year with 47 heart transplants and 48 LVAD surgeries
  • Five year study of newest LVAD called the Heart Mate 3 shows much improved performance over previous versions, and improved quality of life
  • A device that turns a mortality rate of 90% into 20% is a remarkable treatment advance

COVID Updates

Dr. Tim Williamson, VP Quality and Safety, The University of Kansas Health System

  • White House plans to end COVID emergency declaration in May, meaning free COVID tests might go away
  • Even with emergency declaration ending, masking will still be required in hospitals for now because it’s proven to keep patients safe
  • While COVID numbers are heading in the right direction, we can’t afford to let our guard down. We must stay up to date with vaccinations and boosters in order to stay out of the hospital.

Thursday, February 2 is the next Morning Medical Update. Her morning runs just didn't feel right. You’ll meet a woman who saved her own life by listening to her body and the warning signs her heart was sending.

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