At the age of 27, Tatjana noticed that something was not right: suddenly, going up the stairs was difficult and she had cramps at nighttime. When she went to see her family doctor, he referred her directly to the hospital to see a specialist. The specialist gave her a diagnosis: dilated cardiomyopathy, irreversible damage to the cardiac muscle tissue. A defibrillator was implanted and she also had to take medications regularly. All of this only helped in part, however. In the following years, Tatjana had to undergo repeated cardiac catheter examinations and continue taking medications to support her heart's total pump output. Over time her condition worsened to such an extent that only a donor heart or a ventricular assist device would be of help. Thus, on August 25, 2016 this young mother was implanted with an EXCOR® system at the University Hospital Heidelberg. After approximately four months in the hospital and three weeks in rehab, she was finally able to return home to her family.
Tatjana has already been living for more than one year with the EXCOR® system. Two pumps and the Excor mobile drive are her constant companions. They continuously support the two weakened sides of her heart and supply her body with blood. Over time, the Saarland native has been able to regain her strength and reach a normal body weight. In conversation she tells us that she has no problems with EXCOR® and that she trusts the system. Nevertheless, the system's drive is fairly heavy and she notices it when climbing stairs or when out for a walk. Thanks to the ventricular assist device, however, Tatjana can be at home with her family. There she takes care of the house and of her lively young daughter. The 33-year-old avoids the hospital as much as possible: "Thankfully, I don't have to go to the clinic very often. I control the pumps myself using my mobile phone flashlight and a mirror. My partner takes care of the wound dressings."
In order to prepare herself for the time she would be on EXCOR®, Tatjana did some Internet research. She felt good knowing that there are other patients who live with such a system. Her VAD coordinator in Heidelberg and her family also helped her to manage the new situation. Tatjana now only waits for a suitable donor heart. After transplantation she would like to return to her job as a salesperson. She strongly believes in never giving up hope.