Lindsay Ledford - Ventricular Assist Device and Heart Transplantation

Lindsey Ledford with her doctor“I knew something was wrong when I couldn't even walk slowly without stopping to catch my breath,” recalls Lindsay Ledford. She was only 23 when diagnosed with familial cardiomyopathy and heart failure.

Familial cardiomyopathy is a genetic disorder that causes weakness and thinning of the walls of the left ventricle, lessening its ability to supply oxygen-enriched blood to the body. Both her mother and her grandmother suffered from the disease.

Seeking treatment, Ms. Ledford came to the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, where she received help from advanced heart failure team.

Ms. Ledford was placed on the waiting list for a heart transplant after the advanced heart failure team met with her and reviewed her medical history. She was told that she needed a ventricular assist device (VAD), a mechanical device that takes over the pumping action of a diseased heart to stay alive while waiting for a new heart, but she chose not to have the VAD procedure and went home. “The idea of surgery and the technology involved with the VAD scared me,” says Ms. Ledford. “I thought I could wait it out until I got a transplant.”

However, she suffered a cardiac arrest with multisystem organ failure. As soon as her body recovered, the VAD was placed, which was her only chance for survival until she received a heart transplant. With the VAD, Ms. Ledford was able to resume many of the activities she enjoys.

Ms. Ledford received her heart transplant in June of 2009. Today, she is doing well and regaining her active lifestyle.