Skip to Main Content

How an Artificial Heart Was the Bridge to the Rest of Shawn Galloway’s Life


At 30, Shawn Galloway was 20 weeks pregnant with her first child. The shortness of breath and swelling she was experiencing was attributed to her pregnancy. But when the heart palpitations started, she knew something was wrong. At the emergency room, she received a cardiac enzyme test, which revealed that her heart had sustained damage. Although she delivered her daughter without any issues, a year after the birth, Shawn was diagnosed with congestive heart failure.

In April of 2011, she was told she would need a heart transplant and was put on the transplant list. But, by July, she had gotten so sick that she could no longer wait for a donor. Shawn was facing the choice of dying or being the first recipient of the SynCardia Total Artificial Heart at Texas Heart® Institute at St. Luke’s Health–Baylor St. Luke’s. The revolutionary device kept her alive until September, when a donor transplant gave her new life.

One week after the first anniversary of her transplant, Shawn and her husband adopted a baby. And today, feeling healthier than ever, she volunteers every week with the Heart Exchange Program at Baylor St. Luke's, counseling pre- and post-transplant patients. 

Related Patient Stories

Advice from a Prostate Cancer Survivor

SEP 30, 2022

With six of his brothers diagnosed with prostate cancer, 64-year-old Willie Myles took every precaution. The community college instructor faithfully underwent annual prostate screenings for more than 20 years, dating back to his days as a young...

Read More Additional information about Advice from a Prostate Cancer Survivor

A system of care

SEP 01, 2022

Juliet and Dick Moynihan donate to St. Luke’s Health after receiving care across multiple hospitals and credit Dr. Aquino with saving his life more than once.

Read More Additional information about Couple makes impact after receiving care | St. Luke’s Health

Former NFL star tackles health with bariatric surgery

FEB 21, 2022

Read about former Super Bowl champion Gaylon Hyder and his journey to reclaim his health.

Read More Additional information about Former NFL star tackles health with bariatric surgery