A WOMAN claims to have survived an entire year without a pulse.
Sofia Hart is kept alive by plugging herself into the mains when she's at home, then running on battery power while out of the house.
The 30-year-old has irreversible dilated cardiomyopathy (IDC) – a type of heart disease where one side is weaker, which can cause heart failure.
She is awaiting a transplant. But to help keep blood pumping around her body in the meantime, she uses a life-saving left ventricular assist device (LVAD).
This requires electrical power, or two "very heavy" batteries, and being unplugged could kill her.
Sofia said in a TikTok video: "I run off batteries, literally, and I don't have a pulse.
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"I'm a human without a pulse. It's true. I'm not making it up.
"I am on a device – I guess you can just call it a life support device – called an LVAD and it pumps to the left side of my heart.
"I had open heart surgery at the end of November to implant the device that's inside of me that basically hugs my heart.
"It's on a continuous flow."
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Despite her twin sister Olivia being born with the same condition, Sofia only discovered she had IDC in the summer of 2022 while working on a horse farm.
Usually upbeat and full of beans, she began to notice her energy levels slump.
"It was a fatigue that I can't really describe," she told PEOPLE.
"I wasn't tired in my brain, but my body was so tired and I was out of breath even from driving."
Initially, she suspected she might have Lyme disease (transmitted by infected ticks), as she could have easily been bitten while outdoors with the animals.
But after tests at a walk-in clinic and a conversation with Olivia, she learned the true cause of her symptoms.
Until her transplant, Sofia has to connect to a wall outlet to charge her LVAD, nicknamed 'Janis' after her favourite singer Janis Joplin, which can make it tricky to move around.
Sofia, who grew up in Martha's Vineyard and now lives in Boston, Massachusetts, US, said: "That cord is pretty long, and I have mastered living in places where I can get around on that cord."
When she does leave the house, she is "battery powered" – and always carries a spare set just in case.
Dilated cardiomyopathy is a progressive, usually irreversible, disease which impacts the heart's ventricles and lower and upper chambers, according to the American Heart Association.
It usually begins in the left ventricle – the heart's main pumping chamber – and the muscles begin to stretch and become thinner.
The problem can then spread, meaning the muscles don't contract normally and the blood can't flow as it should.
As the heart becomes weaker, heart failure can occur. The most common symptoms include shortness of breath and fatigue.
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Dilated cardiomyopathy is estimated to affect around one in 250 people, the British Heart Foundation says.
It is most common in adults under the age of 50, and is the leading cause of heart transplantation.
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