Thursday UMC Health System announced a new heart surgery for it’s hospital.
It’s a big step in improving access to life-saving cardiac care in west Texas and eastern New Mexico.

“I was really run down before all of this,” said Kenneth Romero explaining the feeling of heart failure.

It’s pain shared by thousands of people across the country who’ve been diagnosed with heart failure.

“Heart Failure is a growing diagnosis at an alarming rate and the number of patients with advanced heart failure far out paces the number of available transplants,” said Dr. Benjamin Hirsch, Heart surgeon at UMC.

Hirsch said that there are around 22-hundred transplants a year but there are hundreds of thousands with heart failure.

But, for folks in the south plains the  procedure is allowing them to live life without a transplant.

It’s done through the use of a left ventricular assist device or L-VAD.

It’s a pump placed inside the left ventricle of the heart.

The pump takes blood from there and moves it to the aorta.

From the the blood is dispersed to the body providing oxygen and nutrients it needs.

And now the device will become more available to west Texas.

“More people with advanced heart failure are going to benefit from this operation and this device….it’s not for everybody, not everyone is a candidate for it….but as the devices get better it will be more available and more people will benefit,” said Dr. Hirsch

And now nearly three weeks after the device was implanted in his chest, Romero is going home on his feet.

“I just want to thank the people of UMC and the Texas Tech Health Science Center,Phenomenal job, or I wouldn’t be here,” said Romero.