Cheryl Jones is looking forward to wearing a dress without alterations.
For the last six years, she's had to sew pockets in clothes to carry the controller for a left ventricular assist system, or LVAD machine, which kept her heart pumping. Batteries powering the pump in her chest added an extra 12 to 15 pounds to carry everywhere.
The device, controller and batteries are gone, as is her old heart. On Aug. 5, the 67-year-old got a new one.
Jones' surgery was a milestone for the Sentara Advanced Heart Failure Center at Sentara Heart Hospital, as its 400th heart transplant since 1989. Cardiothoracic surgeons George Dimeling and Christopher Barreiro worked several hours with a transplant team to give Jones a new heart and in turn, a better life.
Sentara was the first hospital to offer a heart transplant in eastern Virginia and remains the only facility in eastern Virginia to perform heart transplants with specialized heart-failure physicians and clinicians, including cardiothoracic surgeons.