Innovation Saves a Phoenix Firefighter

Mike Glennie is a husband, father of three and full-time firefighter in Phoenix. Regular physicals and even a check-up with his cardiologist all confirmed he was in good health for his strenuous career. But while he was walking home from work one day, Mike had a heart attack. A passing motorist called the paramedics and administered CPR until they arrived.

During the ambulance ride to the nearest emergency room, the paramedics had to use defibrillators three times to restart his heart. Doctors determined all five of his major arteries were completely blocked and Mike required immediate quintuple bypass heart surgery.   

Weakened by the demands of pumping blood through the clogged arteries, his heart was not strong enough to circulate the blood his body needed to survive the operation. Doctors used a minimally invasive procedure to insert the world’s smallest heart pump inside Mike’s heart in order to preserve his life and allow his heart to rest enough to recover its natural strength.  

The miniature pump has one moving part—a propeller with a miniaturized motor capable of over 50,000 rpm that pulls the blood through the heart, into the arteries and throughout the body. It can circulate up to 2.5 liters of blood per minute and is four millimeters in diameter, allowing physicians to insert the pump using a catheter in a minimally invasive procedure. It’s a breakthrough technology for patients like Mike who need immediate heart support but have the potential to recover their natural heart muscle strength.

Mike had successful bypass surgery and an additional two days of support from the heart pump to rest his heart. Four months after the quintuple bypass surgery, Mike’s cardiologist found his heart was functioning at full capacity and full muscle strength. Thanks to every innovative step in life changing medical technology, Mike is back to work as a firefighter, providing for his family and protecting the people of Phoenix.