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Mechanical Heart Patients Gather In San Diego This Weekend

San Dieguito County Park in Del Mar.
San Diego County
San Dieguito County Park in Del Mar.

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.

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.