Dallas, Texas (NAPSI) - Kristi Mardis was diagnosed with severe heart failure in her early 20s. For years, she had no quality of life, no energy. Simple everyday tasks were challenging.

“I couldn’t go out or do things with family and friends. I could barely make myself dinner. Sometimes, I could barely breathe,” she said. “I was simply existing. I wasn’t living.”

In April 2009, Kristi’s frustrating decade-long battle with heart failure reached a critical point. After years of strain, doctors informed her that her heart had deteriorated to the point of no return. She was told she had days to live.

Help for Failing Hearts

Kristi’s cardiologist recommended an option that could improve her condition: a medical device that has helped more than 13,000 patients and their families get back the life they thought was lost.

This technology is called the HeartMate II® Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD), or heart pump.

When the heart is too weak to pump blood on its own, the HeartMate II LVAD is attached to the heart to help circulate blood. The pump is implanted inside. Other equipment is worn outside the body to monitor, control and power the pump.

HeartMate II can provide relief from the symptoms of heart failure and enable an active lifestyle, as patients are able to return home and resume normal activity after receiving the device. HeartMate II is the most widely used and studied LVAD in the world.

After she received her HeartMate II, Kristi noticed a difference immediately. She quickly regained her strength and now—more than three years later—enjoys boundless energy. Today, she is working at a local hospital, and loves taking care of her plants and flowers, and being outside. She also dedicates a significant amount of time helping others, educating them about the benefits of the LVAD.

“Most people that I talk to can’t believe I was ever sick. It’s important to let everyone know how this can change their lives,” she said. “Before HeartMate II, I existed. And now I live.”

Are You Suffering From Heart Failure?

Below are symptoms that may signal something is wrong.

• Shortness of breath

• Swollen feet, ankles and legs

• Trouble sleeping when lying flat

• Feeling weak and tired

Know Your Options

Only your doctor knows what is right for you and your condition. If you or someone you love is struggling with heart failure, talk to your doctor about LVAD therapy and HeartMate II. Visit www.hearthope.com to learn more.