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Heart of Determination: Selwa Hussain, the Woman Who Defies the Odds with Her Artificial Heart Backpack

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Heart of Determination: Selwa Hussain, the Woman Who Defies the Odds with Her Artificial Heart Backpack

Selwa Hussain is a remarkable woman from London who carries her heart in a bag, not out of choice but out of necessity.

Selwa’s story is one of extraordinary courage and resilience.  In 2017, Selwa faced a life-threatening situation when she suddenly became breathless. She drove to her family doctor, and from there, her journey into the world of artificial hearts began.

Diagnosed with severe heart failure, she was quickly transferred to Harefield Hospital, where her condition had deteriorated to the point where neither a support pump nor a heart transplant was an option.

Her devoted husband, Al, made the difficult decision to give Selwa a chance at life through an artificial heart. In a groundbreaking procedure, her diseased natural heart was replaced with a cutting-edge artificial implant and a specialized unit was attached to her back.

Heart of Determination: Selwa Hussain, the Woman Who Defies the Odds with Her Artificial Heart Backpack
Selwa Hussein

The backpack she carries contains batteries, an electric motor, and a pump that keeps the artificial heart functioning.  Selwa’s daily life is a testament to her indomitable spirit. She wears a 6-kilogram rucksack at all times, a constant reminder of the fragile line between life and death.

This backpack contains the very essence of her existence, with the electric motor producing a distinct whirring noise as it tirelessly pushes blood through her body at 138 beats per minute.

Two plastic tubes, enter her body through her stomach, filling and emptying two balloons in her chest, mimicking the chambers of a natural heart.  But the challenges don’t end there.

Selwa carries a second unit in another backpack as a backup, and she is never alone. Her husband or another caregiver must always be by her side, ready to connect the backup machine in case of an emergency, with a mere 90 seconds to spare.

Selwa’s story is a powerful reminder of human resilience and the miracles of modern medicine. She carries not just her heart but the hopes and dreams of many, living her life one heartbeat at a time.

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