LOUISVILLE SURGEONS UPDATE CONDITION
OF SECOND ABIOCOR PATIENT
(LOUISVILLE) - The University of
Louisville surgeons who implanted the world's first and second AbioCor
totally implantable hearts at Jewish Hospital today announced that
the second recipient, Tom Christerson, is not progressing as well
as they had hoped.
Dr. Laman A. Gray, Jr., today said, "Mr. Christerson
was running high fevers last week, which spiked at 107 (degrees
Fahrenheit) on Friday. It is back in a more acceptable range today
- in the low 100s."
With the fever reduced, Mr. Christerson's kidney and
liver are now functioning in a normal range. For a short time each
began to fail as a result of the fever.
The surgeons are consulting with a large team of specialists
to identify the source of the fever. The team - which includes infectious
disease specialists, pulmonologists, neurologists, and others -
has been unable to find the focal point of the fever.
"His chest x-rays and cultures have all come
back 100 percent normal," Gray continued. "There is no
obvious evidence of infection."
Over the weekend, Dr. Rob Dowling reported that the
fever may be a reaction to medication, but that the team had not
determined that for certain.
Mr. Christerson, who was given less than a 20% chance
of surviving 30 days at the time of his surgery, had pre-existing
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in addition to end-stage
heart failure prior to his Sept. 13 surgery. COPD is not a contra-indication
to the surgery, but raises the probability of lung-related difficulties
The doctors report that Mr. Christerson was returned
to the ventilator last week due to general muscle weakness that
made breathing difficult.
"At this point, we are treating this as an acute,
reversible situation," Gray explained. "We don't feel
that it is a problem related to the device - it has continued to
friendly version (Adobe
Acrobat Reader Required)