Open Mics With Doctor Stites 6-5-24

Media Resources

Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


Key points from today’s guests:

Dr. Sean Kumer, transplant surgeon, associate chief medical officer, The University of Kansas Health System

  • For people whose hearts are failing, an LVAD device can either help them hold out for a heart transplant or help their heart keep pumping for years.
  • These implants are not new, but the technology has improved immensely and have really helped patients survive heart failure.
  • It is important to listen to your friends, family, and supporters when they think something might be wrong with your health.

Larry Brown, has lived with LVAD for 6 years

  • Larry got an LVAD in 2018 because of advanced heart failure.
  • His heart ejection fraction number was at 15 percent and it should be in the 50 percent range.
  • He had problems walking short distances and went to another hospital to get checked. They said they couldn’t do anything for him and he came to The University of Kansas Health System for an LVAD.
  • He said it is great that he can now live a normal life because he feels so much better.

Beverly Santos, Larry’s partner

  • She noticed Larry was not feeling healthy and made him get checked out.
  • The LVAD has helped with his physical health and his mental health.
  • They can now go out together and even take trips.

Dr. Matthew Danter, cardiothoracic surgeon; surgical director, Cardiac Transplant, The University of Kansas Health System

  • An LVAD assists in pumping blood when the heart is failing, which prevents fatigue and shortness of breath from the pressure backing up and going to the lungs.
  • Survival rates for patients with LVAD have increased exponentially over the years as technology has gotten better.
  • Only a small percentage of the actual people that are diagnosed with advanced heart failure will ever get transplant.
  • This LVAD is really a change in thinking in what we're able to offer to patients to prolong their life.
  • Feeling fatigue or shortness of breath should not be chalked up to “just getting old” -- get checked by a medical provider.

Ashley Manning, R.N., LVAD coordinator, The University of Kansas Health System

  • Getting an LVAD is an entire lifestyle change and it can be hard for people to handle on their own without support.
  • Patients must carry a bag with a controller and battery with them at all times as the LVAD is connected to the chest.
  • We provide education and support at any time for these patients. No question or issue is too small.
  • A caregiver is so important for LVAD patients. We provide training and support to caregivers as well.

Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control, The University of Kansas Health System

  • Mosquitoes are the main transmitter of West Nile virus.
  • Most people are asymptomatic, so they don't even know they have the infection. However, one in 150 people who are infected will develop severe central nervous system disease like encephalitis and meningitis.
  • It is very important to understand the amount of disease that can be spread by ticks.
  • Those include Ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Heartland virus and bourbon virus.
  • These diseases are spread by the lone star tick as opposed to the deer tick, which can spread Lyme disease.
  • Use preventive measures. The CDC website will help you identify what are the EPA registered repellents to help protect you.

Thursday, June 6 at 8 a.m. is the next All Things Heart. At 62, Rick had not been to a doctor in more than 50 years. When something didn’t feel right, he finally saw a doctor who diagnosed him with cardiac amyloidosis, a buildup of abnormal proteins in the tissues of the heart. Rick’s situation was dire as his heart had grown twice the size it should be and needed a transplant as soon as possible. You’ll see his incredible story.

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