PORTLAND, Ore. -- A woman from Kennewick, Washington is the first at Oregon Health and Science University to receive a newly designed heart pump.

“Her heart was failing when she arrived by Life flight,” said Dr. Frederick Tibayan. "She was having trouble breathing and was swelling.”

Doctors at the Knight Cardiovascular Institute decided to implant the HeartMate 3 inside Linda Downy.

“It pumps the blood and does the work my heart is too weak to do anymore,” said Downy.

The 63-year-old was diagnosed with heart failure 10 years ago,

“You hear that and you think you’re going to die,” she said. “But now I’m amazed at what a difference enough oxygen and blood make.”

She can climb the stairs and converse happily with family eight weeks after getting the HeartMate 3.

“We’ve been using heart pumps since the 90s at OHSU,” said cardiologist James Mudd. “We’re hopeful this latest design will be less damaging to the blood which results in less clotting.”

OHSU is one of 60 centers involved in a trial of the HeartMate 3.

“If not for a pump option we would have been talking with Linda about hospice care,” said Dr. Mudd. “Now she’s steadily improving.”

“I still rely on my medications and have to be tethered to a battery pack,” said Linda. “But I have a new heart and it sings a good song.”