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Mechanical Heart Patients Gather In San Diego This Weekend

— About 40 people who are living with mechanical heart pumps are having a picnic in San Dieguito Park tomorrow afternoon. The annual event gives heart patients a chance to swap stories and thank their doctors.

San Dieguito County Park in Del Mar.
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Above: San Dieguito County Park in Del Mar.

Frank Favro will be one of the new faces at the picnic.

He suffered a heart attack and had quadruple bypass surgery in the early 90s. Over time, he developed congestive heart failure.

Favro spent two months at Sharp Memorial Hospital waiting for a heart transplant last fall. Finally, surgeons implanted a mechanical heart pump to keep him alive.

The 66-year-old Favro said it's working like a charm.

"I feel better than I have in the last two years," the Jamul resident explained. "It's unbelievable. I can do anything that I used to be able to do. There's some limitations, but, I split three cords of word a couple of weeks ago."

Like most others with mechanical hearts, Favro is still waiting for a transplant. He has to wear a pager and must remain within four hours of the hospital at all times.

There are only about 2,000 heart transplants a year nationwide. Three thousand people are on the waiting list on any given day.

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