A bodybuilder who suffered heart failure was rushed to hospital for a transplant and now has an artificial heart he carries around in a backpack.
Andrew Jones, from Connecticut, first became unwell in 2012 after struggling to breathe during a run. He was horrified when two years later he started to cough up blood and developed a high fever.
In hospital, doctors diagnosed the 26-year-old with cardiomyopathy – a hereditary disease of the heart muscle – and soon he became so weak he couldn’t stand, walk or dress himself.
A few months later, medics told if he didn’t have a transplant immediately he would die.
As there were no organs available, he was fitted with a pacemaker and an artificial heart – which he now carries around in a bag on his back. Despite his brush with death, he is now back to the gym and said he cries after workouts as he feels so ‘thankful to be alive’.
Recalling suffering from heart failure, Mr Jones said: ‘It’s something I would never want to wish upon my worst enemy.
‘You can’t breathe, you can’t think, you don’t eat and you don’t sleep.
He continued: ‘Living with this disease put me in a pattern with depression and physical pain. ‘I had to stop working because I wouldn’t be able to stand for more than 10 minutes.
‘I dreaded going to the kitchen because that meant that I had to go up and down my stairs.
‘I couldn’t even get dressed without panting and gasping for air my life was falling apart and I just wanted relief.’
But since having the artificial heart implanted he has slowly recovered and is now back to training in the gym.
His artificial heart has two tubes that exit the body and are connected to a machine he carries around in a bag.
The machine delivers compressed air into the ventricles to allow blood to be pumped through the body.