A small device to improve blood circulation is giving a big boost to people awaiting a heart transplant.

The London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) is now using the latest incarnation of a device that's making life easier for a Chatham resident Phil McCracken.

McCracken had a heart attack 12 years ago, "I had just turned 48 years old, and you're like, 'Why me? Why did this happen?," he says.

"I was more susceptible to cold, flu pneumonia. Everything kept going downhill."

Until he gets a new heart, McCracken relies on an LVAD or Left Ventricular Assist Device to help pump blood. It features a small external computer connected by cable to the implantable device.

He is the first patient at LHSC to receive the latest generation, heart-ware system device.

The device is so small it can fit in the palm of your hand and in the case of this technology smaller is better.

"Like new technologies, it's smaller - that makes the surgical implant less involved and patients potentially heal better," says Dr. Dave Nagpal, a cardiac surgeon.

"As you'd expect with newer technology the batteries are smaller, the controllers are smaller, it's more of a convenient device," he adds.

Although wearing the device has taken a bit of getting used to, McCracken says it's helping him lead a normal, more active life.

"As soon as I woke up from the operation, my hands were warm, my feet were warm, I could breathe better. It was right away," says McCracken.