Jeffrey M. Carlton Heart & Vascular Institute
Our Stories


Saved by Donor-Supported Advancements

Tim's Story

When Hoag’s medical team says they are proud of the organization’s commitment to emerging technologies, it is because of people like Tim Deits.

The teenage star athlete would not be alive today if it were not for the leading-edge medical device that Hoag’s staff requested and waited five years to see approved. The right-sided Impella® pump is the kind of technology that Hoag is always seeking: innovative, ingenious and, more importantly, effective.

On Nov. 11, 2016, Tim, who was then 16 and an MVP for the Edison High School roller hockey team, headed to his garage to work out. His parents, Ted and Michelle, left their home in Huntington Beach to walk the dog down by the ocean. When they came home, they discovered Tim unconscious in the garage. They called the paramedics, who arrived within two minutes, defibrillated him twice and rushed him to Hoag.

Tim’s parents were told that he had a rare heart condition, arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD), in which the muscle of the right ventricle is replaced by fat and or fibrous tissue. A congenital condition, ARVD weakens the heart’s ability to pump blood normally. For many people with the condition, the “first symptom” is sudden death.

Doctors told the dumbstruck parents that their healthy boy had a 10 percent chance of survival.

The cardiac team at Hoag’s Jeffrey M. Carlton Heart & Vascular Institute, including Ray Gandhi, M.D., cardiologist; Bahram Alavynejad, M.D., critical care specialist; Mahmoud Eslami, M.D., cardiologist; andAnthony Caffarelli, M.D., director of Hoag’s Aortic Center and Hoag Cardiovascular Surgery; rushed into action and hooked Tim up to the Impella heart pump, a device from Abiomed® that helps the heart pump blood when weakened or compromised. What happened next is what saved his life. The team decided to place a second Impella heart pump on the other side of his heart. The combination of an Impella pump on both sides of his heart saved his life.

More patients have trouble with the left side of their heart, so the right side device is not considered a necessity. But Hoag’s dedication to improving patient care means being ready for all patients, particularly patients like Tim whose hidden ARVD took him from star athlete to the verge of death in an instant.

Hoag is the only hospital in Orange County to provide a right-sided heart pump and this approach had only been done two other times in the world on a pediatric patient.

“He’s a walking miracle,” says Tim’s father, Ted. “There are a lot of things that happened that saved his life: That we came home when we did. That the paramedics happened to be around the corner. That Hoag had two Impella heart pumps – and the fact that the paramedics took him to Hoag in the first place. Had they taken him to another hospital, I believe he would not have survived. Our heartfelt thanks goes out to everyone at Hoag, who treated us like family. It’s hard to put into words how grateful we are.”
Hoag has won numerous national awards for excellence in cardiovascular care and is recognized as a Cardiovascular Receiving Center (CVRC) by the Orange County Emergency Medical Services.

But the awards aren’t the reason Hoag remains on the forefront of cardiac innovation. Tim is.


Sign up for our Newsletter

Thank you for subscribing to Hoag Hospital Foundation's E-newsletter!