Arkansas man feeling great thanks to heart transplant

Larry Chastain had stage-four heart failure and is alive today thanks to a heart transplant. (KATV Photo)

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States.

70-year-old Larry Chastain has been through a lot. He had a heart attack 10 years ago, eventually losing the ability to do the simple things.

Chastain had class-four heart failure and he still gets emotional thinking about it.

"I had trouble walking from the front porch to the mailbox, and according to the doctors, I didn't have very long at all left," he said.

"When you get to that stage, there's about a 50 percent chance of being alive in one year," Dr. Patrick Campbell explained.

That was something Chastain was not willing to accept.

This father and grandfather knew he had so much to live for, so he sought help from the Baptist Health Heart Failure and Transplant Institute.

"Not only do I have a great support group at home, this hospital has formed the greatest support group that you could imagine," Chastain said.

Doctors implanted him with a heart mate-3 heart pump. It supported him well for nine months. Then, Chastain decided he wanted to get on the list for a heart transplant. Right at the end of 2017, a heart became available.

In Arkansas, this kind of comprehensive care is something Dr. Campbell says is rare.

Now, just about a month post-surgery, Chastain is feeling great and very blessed. He hopes by sharing his story, he's able to inspire others.

"If you have heart problems, don't wait long. I almost waited too long," Chastain said.

The Baptist Health Heart Failure and Transplant Institute will perform about 15-20 transplants this year.

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