Kaiser Permanente: Basketball Dad Gets an Assist From Mechanical Heart Pump

Originally Published by Kaiser Permanente.

Keith Childs’ condition was touch and go when he first met Barbara Amos, RN.

“He was probably about a month away from the end of his life, in a chair in the ICU attached to multiple pumps,” said the clinical nurse specialist, who manages the Ventricular Assist Device Program for Kaiser Permanente in Oregon and Southern Washington.


Childs had heart failure, a condition in which the heart is too weak to pump enough blood and oxygen to the organs.

“It felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest,” he recalled.

Beating the odds

Some 5.7 million adults in the U.S. have heart failure. Half will die within 5 years of diagnosis.

The ventricular assist device, or “VAD,” is a promising treatment. The mechanical pump is implanted in the heart to help the left chamber pump blood.

“It gives a second chance to patients who have a heart that’s just too weak to sustain life,” said Yong Shin, MD, chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Kaiser Permanente in the Northwest.

While the ventricular assist device has been shown to improve survival and quality of life, VAD therapy is complex and high-risk. Kaiser Permanente launched its program with a team-based approach and detailed care plans designed to improve patient outcomes.

The results have been impressive.

“For the past 4 years, we’ve not had a death within 12 months of VAD implant,” said Timothy Jacobson, MD, chief of Cardiology. “Current mortality rates (at other medical centers) are 10, 15 or even 20 percent.”

Nearly 4 years after receiving his VAD, Keith Childs is “healthy, fabulous, raising his kids, being a basketball dad and working,” said Amos.

“They saved my life,” said Childs. “My kids are very grateful.”

Latest News

5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: December 1

As the saying goes, the news never stops — but there’s a lot of it out there, and all of it doesn’t always pertain to our readers. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories that matter most to our diversity focused audience. 1. Bill to Protect…

Medtronic Increases Remote Access to Innovative Technologies and Training

Originally published at news.medtronic.com. Medtronic ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2022.   Medtronic plc, a global leader in healthcare technology, launched the Medtronic Customer eXperience Center (MCXC) in Singapore, leveraging innovative healthcare technologies across extended reality (XR), augmented and virtual realities and…

PwC on Providing Workplace Skills for Global Youth

Originally published at pwc.com. PwC is a Hall of Fame company.   Take on Tomorrow, the podcast from our management publication strategy+business, brings you Episode 10: “How can we ensure the workers of tomorrow get the skills they need today?” As countries around the world face labor shortages, global youth unemployment…