Baez was in the hospital for five months, and he went home living with the implantable VAD. He had the heart transplant in March 2016. When it was all over—after the transplant and cardiac rehab—Baez put on the theme song from the movie Rocky III: “Eye of the Tiger.” “It was a very emotional moment,” says his wife, Lucy. “It was his way of saying good-bye to all the people who cared for him and to show his determination to keep on going—to live his life.” T Leading the Way in VAD Technology Use people can live for many months, possibly years, outside of the hospital.” Most important—and critical to the recovery of patients such as Carlos Mora and Saul Baez—is the work of an entire team of skilled and talented people. “Cardiac anesthetists, the OR nursing team, physician assistants and nurse practitioners, the ICU and floor nursing staffs, physical, occupational, and respiratory therapists, perfusionists, and social workers all play a huge role in the process of getting people back to their lives,” says Dr. Batsides, adding, “Their coordinated efforts make these kinds of cases success stories.” he newest addition to the field of VAD technology, the Impella RP, is the only right-sided percutaneous assist device on the market used specifically to treat right-sided heart failure. The first implantation in New Jersey was performed by Dr. Batsides and his team, and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School was one of only eight sites in the country to participate in the Impella RP post-approval study. Dr. Batsides speaks and presents internationally about the Impella device and the future of VADs and their impact on heart surgery. “We’ve come a long way in the past 10 years,” he says. “Not only are these devices implantable, but V What the Future Holds AD technology has changed cardiac surgery, and it may continue to change how the heart can be treated, through the use of even smaller mechanical devices capable of being incorporated into the body in newer and more innovative ways. “These technologies allow us to operate on the sickest of hearts and give them a chance for survival,” says Dr. Batsides. There is no question that people survive what would have been considered devastating heart failure because this technology exists. As medical science moves forward, so do the opportunities for more lives to be saved. M Robert Wood Johnson I MEDICINE 7