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SynCardia Systems, Inc.

Press Release:

Former SynCardia Total Artificial Heart
Patient Rides in Rose Parade

Former NHL player Gates Orlando will appear on the Donate Life entry as a donor heart recipient after he was bridged to transplant with the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart.

Gates Orlando was first person in Upstate New York to receive a Syncardia Total Artificial Heart.  He received a donor heart a few months after this photo was taken. Gates Orlando was first person in Upstate New York to receive a Syncardia Total Artificial Heart. He received a donor heart a few months after this photo was taken. TUCSON, Ariz. – Dec. 16, 2014 – A former NHL player who was supported by the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart before receiving his donor heart transplant will ride in the Rose Parade New Year’s Day.

Gaetano “Gates” Orlando, who played with the Buffalo Sabres in the National Hockey League, received the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart implant April 4, 2012, and was bridged to a donor heart transplant 10 months later.

Orlando will be among dozens of organ donors and recipients accompanying the Donate Life Rose Parade Float titled “The Never-Ending Story.” A floragraph of his heart donor, Paul Guyette, will be part of the float. Laurie LoMonaco, a kidney donor who inspired her friend Guyette to become an organ donor, will walk alongside the entry.

Orlando was diagnosed with sarcoidosis, a rare disease that led to heart failure and caused potentially fatal arrhythmias. He had one of these arrhythmias during a medical procedure to regulate his heart. To save his life, surgeons at the University of Rochester Medical Center placed him on ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) that took over his heart and lung functions.

Surgeons then implanted the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart. Similar to a heart transplant, the SynCardia Heart eliminates the source of end-stage biventricular heart failure in which the heart’s two ventricles no longer can pump enough blood through the body for the patient to survive.

Orlando was the first person in upstate New York to receive the SynCardia Heart, which is used as a bridge to transplant. He received his donor heart February 4, 2013.

Orlando, 52, is now a talent scout for the New Jersey Devils and donates his time encouraging people to register to donate their organs.

“I am blessed and grateful to have been given the gift of life,” Gates tells people. “Please consider becoming an organ donor.”

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About SynCardia Systems, LLC
SynCardia Systems, LLC in Tucson, Ariz., is the privately-held manufacturer of the world's first and only FDA, Health Canada and CE approved Total Artificial Heart. For people suffering from end-stage heart failure affecting both sides of the heart (biventricular failure), the SynCardia temporary Total Artificial Heart is used as a bridge to transplant, helping them survive until a matching donor heart becomes available. SynCardia also manufactures the Freedom® portable driver, which powers the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart and allows clinically stable patients to be discharged from the hospital to enjoy life at home while they wait for a heart transplant.

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SynCardia Contact:
Janelle Drumwright, jdrumwright@syncardia.com, (520) 547-7463

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