ACC.19 in NOLA trip report

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Mid-March, Desirée and I were invited to join this year’s American College of Cardiologists Convention which took place in New Orleans. The goal was to showcase our life with the HeartMate3 LVAD system and advocate for patients like me, health professionals and medical organizations. It was also an opportunity to meet some of the folks leading the advancement of heart health, developing novel technologies, and therapies.

We took some time to discover NOLA, some of its food, and the music. We even went to an NBA game and also caught up with a long-time friend, Mansour. Last we met was probably 10 years ago in South Africa.

Watch the Highlights of the trip here and check out the photo album. This was my first time traveling by plane since the blood pump was implanted in my heart. We captured my first time through TSA with the LVAD.

FIrst time taking the plane with my LVAD

Going to the convention was a great experience, we’ve learned so much and met many inspirational patients and great professionals. The conversations were all so meaningful and we appreciated the interest many have shown in our story.

​Remarkably, the two-year survival data of the Heartmate3 were released, at the convention – showing a rate that is comparable to that of heart transplantation (Abbott) (NEJM). This news was a pleasant surprise and I believe this may be encouraging for the improvement of mechanical circulatory systems.

The special moment for us at the convention came early on the first day when Desirée and I were reunited with three healthcare providers who greatly impacted my life –

  • In 2014, I moved back to Dakar, Senegal. Dr. Dieye Ousmane treated my dilated cardiomyopathy until June 2016.
  • When I flew to UC Davis for the fellowship and my heart failure was triggered (June 2016), Dr. Xu ZI-Jian and his team at Sutter Medical Health Center in Sacramento stabilized me and knew I needed an LVAD while I waited for a heart transplant.
  • Because we had family in Boston, Dr. Xu referred me to the Brigham & Women’s Hospital, which is where we moved as well. I was implanted with the Heartmate3 LVAD there. Drs Givertz Michael, Eldrin Lewis, and Mandeep Mehra are part of the team that implanted me and follow my care, since September 2016. ​​

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