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Implant surgery helps musician with weak heart

Pianist John Cobb received a left ventricle assist device during open heart surgery at Mission Hospital. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

Playing Chopin is a great joy for 75-year-old John Cobb, who holds a doctorate in music. But his weak heart almost forced him to quit.

Cobb received a left ventricle assist device during open heart surgery at Mission Hospital.

"The device is designed to support the body and to support the circulation of the body in the setting of a failing heart," said Dr. Ben Trichon, a cardiologist.

Cobb is tethered to a computer control and carries a backup supply of batteries wherever he goes, but insists it's worth it.

"I'm still needed by my many people, my many students, and I still have a larger purpose in performing ahead of me," he said.

"Over 25,000 of these pumps have been implanted worldwide and many people survive three, four, five, six or seven years, but it does take meticulous attention from patients and their families to manage the device long-term," explained Trichon.

"I feel very wonderful about the way all of this has worked out," said Cobb.

We asked if he would do it again.

"Oh yes!" Cobb answered.

And he's playing again, stronger than ever.

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