LOS ANGELES – A California woman is leaving the hospital with a new heart -- an artificial one.
The Los Angeles Times says 46-year-old Tammy Lumpkins will be released from Keck Hospital of USC in Los Angeles on Wednesday with a device to pump her blood until a transplant is found.
Artificial heart recipients traditionally remained hospitalized because the machinery weighed about 400 pounds. However, a new lightweight device weighs about 14 pounds and can be carried in a backpack.
Only 22 people in the U.S. have it, according to Don Issacs, spokesman for SynCardia, the company that manufacturers the device. The heart is FDA-approved, but the backpack is still part of a clinical trial, according to the newspaper.
Lumpkins is the first person on the West Coast to leave the hospital with the device. She's had heart problems for nearly 20 years and says she feels lucky to be alive. She lives near Modesto but will stay with a friend in Hemet.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.