Exemplary patient reaches major milestone with mechanical 'heart'

3 men and 1 woman standing in group photo
L-R: Dr Lawrence Dembo, wife Maria Serafino, Peter Serafino, and Dr Robert Larbalestier.
September 17, 2020

Grandfather Peter Serafino has followed his doctors’ advice diligently and has now celebrated reaching 10 and a half years living with a blood pump device.

Peter has a Ventricular Assisted Device (VAD) implant which allows most people with advanced heart failure to return to a fuller life.

“Before I had the pump implanted I couldn’t even walk from the kitchen to our room, but the pump gave me a new lease on life,” Peter said.

“Being able to see my grandkids grow up makes me immensely grateful and happy.”

At 81, Peter has become only the second patient in Australia to reach this milestone, and says he owes the success to his wife, family and team of doctors and nurses that have looked after him.

“I never imagined I would make this far, but I am a determined person and my wife has been my rock, looking after me, preparing my meals and ensuring I stay healthy.

“I am no spring chicken, but I have tried to stay active, keep my weight under control, and I haven’t drunk alcohol in 10 years!”

Head of Cardiothoracic Surgery and Transplantation at Fiona Stanley Hospital, Dr Robert Larbalestier, believes the success of Peter’s implant was a great team effort.

“There is always a bit of luck involved, but he has been an exemplary patient and has done everything we asked him to do,” Dr Larbalestier said.

“The dedicated clinical team were also key to success; their attention to detail and long-term involvement in his care is something to be proud of.”

Peter and his family have also actively fundraised for the Heart Foundation and have been involved in numerous charity walks and door knock appeals.