Portage welcomed home teen after heart transplant – WWMT-TV

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Portage welcomed home teen after heart transplant.
PORTAGE, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – Several weeks after receiving a new heart a Portage teenager was welcomed home after receiving a heart transplant.

Spencer Powell captured the hearts of many across West Michigan for his positive outlook on life while waiting for a heart transplant at the University of Michigan’s Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor.

Newschannel 3’s Mara Thompson reports on Powell’s emotional homecoming.

Dozens of friends and family members crowded the neighborhood, along with Portage fire and police cars, as a way to give Powell a welcome home and to celebrate the end of this long journey.

After a long and difficult journey of getting a second chance at life, and a new heart, Powell is home.

Dawn Fitch said, “Ecstatic, happy, overwhelmed, thankful. Very, very thankful and appreciative.”

The streets were lined with people as Powell rounded the corner to his house.

Fitch said, “He was very, very surprised. I was trying to tell him that nobody would be here maybe just the siblings, if anybody.”

An emotional moment Powell has been waiting for his whole life, after being born with congenital heart disease. Family members say through it all he always remained positive.

Sheri Fitch said, “Just to see Spencer go through what he has gone through these last two months plus it’s incredible he’s such a good guy. He’s my hero. He really is.”

Saying they’re both excited and relived.

Brittney Powell said, “Mainly excited for him to come home and be a normal teenager again come home and relax in his own bubble.”

And the support from the community is what got them to this point

“Thank you so, so, so much we could never think the community and our family and everybody enough for everything that they’ve done for us they’ve stayed by her side and been there for us it’s something that I can’t even put in words how appreciative we are.”

Doctors said they’re hopeful Spencer will now have a long healthy life ahead of him.

The family has set up a GoFundMe account (https://www.gofundme.com/teamspencerpowell?ssid=826244226&pos=4) to help with all the medical costs.

Preventative antibiotics could prevent Clostridium difficile infection among stem cell transplant patients – Science Daily

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It may be possible to safely prevent one of the most common — and costly to treat — infections contracted by hospitalized patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation for the treatment of blood cancers, according to a study from the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

The researchers will present their findings at this week’s 58th Annual American Society of Hematology Meeting and Exposition in San Diego.

Clostridium difficile infection, more commonly known as C. diff, causes diarrhea and can lead to severe inflammation of the bowel. These infections can be not only extremely uncomfortable, but can lead to other severe medical complications. Even with a course of antibiotics, the infection can lead to longer hospital stays and increased treatment cost. A study published last year in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found the average cost of C. diff ranges from $8,911 to $30,049 per patient.

Oral vancomycin is a standard antibiotic used to treat C. diff, and researchers at the Abramson Cancer Center began giving it to patients on a preventative basis — twice daily from the day of admission to the day of discharge. Their study focused on patients with blood cancers undergoing an allogeneic stem cell transplant — in which patients receive stem cells from a healthy donor after high-intensity chemotherapy or radiation. Since these transplants require patients’ immune systems to be suppressed so they do not reject their new bone marrow cells, this group of patients is at high risk for life-threatening infections as their new immune systems develop.

The results were significant. Of the 73 patients who took the drug prophylactically, none developed C. diff during their inpatient admission for the stem cell transplant, which lasted an average of 33 days. In a group of patients who did not get the drug in advance, 11 out of 55 (20 percent) developed the infection, which is within the national average of between 20 to 30 percent.

“This is the first study to evaluate this preventative strategy in stem cell transplant recipients, and the results are encouraging,” said the study’s lead author Alex Ganetsky, PharmD, a clinical pharmacist in the Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program in the Abramson Center Center. “This may become the standard of care at Penn among patients receiving allogeneic stem cell transplants.”

Ganetsky says the practice could expand, with acute leukemia patients who are being hospitalized for other types of treatment potentially being the next population to benefit from the prophylactic medication. But the researchers say that given the rising threat of antibiotic resistance across the world, further study will be needed to pinpoint best uses of the drug to avoid overuse.

“What we want to do is maximize the appropriate use of antibiotics,” said the study’s senior author David Porter, MD, the director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation and Jodi Fisher Horowitz Professor in Leukemia Care Excellence in the Abramson Cancer Center. “With our control group showing a 20 percent infection rate, that means we’re giving the antibiotics to a lot of people who would not have otherwise developed C. diff, but given the risks associated with the condition for these patients, our results demonstrate a potential path to protecting more of them during a very vulnerable period in their recovery.”

While the treatment has proven effective at preventing C. diff, the study did not show a shortened length of hospitalization among the patients.

“This was a retrospective analysis, so we need to follow up with randomized trials that specifically look at length of stay,” Porter said. “Finding such a drop-off in C. diff is enough to push us to continue this line of study.”

Porter also says this study shows the benefits of Penn’s multidisciplinary approach, and how doctors, pharmacists, and other staff with different perspectives can bring added benefits to patient care.

“Highly trained pharmacists are part of our transplant team, and they’re embedded with the unit,” Porter said. “From medication to side-effect management, it is natural and critical to work alongside them as part of the transplant process.”

The Healthy WAAY with Erin Dacy: Artificial heart transplant – WAAY

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More than 3,000 people are on the waiting list for a heart transplant on any given day. Only 2,200 donor hearts are available each year. For a few critically ill heart patients, the total artificial heart is their best chance for survival.

Fifty-two-year-old Bryan Tyo listens to his donor heart and smiles. Less than a year ago, he had a massive heart attack while exercising. His heart was beyond repair, but he was a good candidate for a total artificial heart, a procedure used fewer than 50 times a year as a bridge to a heart transplant.

Bryan said, “Not only bought me the time, but probably saved my life, the technology did.”

Bryan’s wife, Risa, detailed, “They didn’t have another option other than take out his heart, put in an artificial heart and then as soon as he got strong enough do a donor (heart), so definitely a breakthrough.”

Shelley Hall, M.D., Chief of Transplant Cardiology at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, explained, “You’re essentially removing both pumping chambers of the heart, the right ventricle and the left ventricle and replacing it with this machine that is attached to the remaining top chambers of the heart.”

Bryan waited six weeks for a donor heart, carrying his artificial heart around in a battery powered backpack.

“The waiting was the hardest part, and the reason for that is in order for me to get a heart, someone else was going to lose their life, and that was hard,” said Bryan.

Bryan waited six weeks and finally, he got the call that a donor heart was available. The transplant operation was a success.

“How do you qualify the significance of a life? For him it was everything. For his wife, it was everything. For our team it was everything,” Dr. Hall said.

“It’s the gift of life, organ donation is,” said Bryan.

The total artificial heart is FDA approved only as a bridge to heart transplant, not as a permanent replacement for a failing organ.

If you’d like to learn more about organ donation in the state of Alabama, including how you can be an organ donor, click here.

Man runs 5K just eight months after heart transplant – WDTN

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GRAND RAPIDS, MI (WOOD) –- After undergoing a heart transplant followed by months of training, Scott Kovacs achieved his goal by crossing the finish line of the Turkey Trot 5K.

“I didn’t think I would be running this race a couple months ago,” Kovacs said after the Thanksgiving Day race.

Kovacs had a heart transplant in March, but he battled heart issues for more than 10 years. Five months after the major surgery he began using the Couch to 5K app which led him to be one of more than 3,200 people who took part in the annual Turkey Trot 5K.

“My goal today was just to finish and I was able to do that,” he said.

Family members were lined up with encouraging signs of support.

Although the physical exhaustion on his face was evident as Kovacs reached the finish line, it quickly transformed into determination.

His wife, Shannon, was visibly emotional as she watched her husband finish the last stretch of the race and then blow her a kiss.

“He’s just nothing more than a miracle,” said his excited wife. “Nothing has ever stopped this man once he puts his mind to something.”

His family is giving thanks on this holiday and shared advice to families who may be in a position they are all too familiar with.

“Just keep a positive attitude,” Shannon said. “Scott never said ‘why me’ he never said ‘why me?’”

Scott plans to run a 10K this spring.

Boy has much to be thankful for after multi-organ transplant – WSPA.com

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LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – Tony Forte was diagnosed at six days old with a rare disease that effects the digestive system.

He has never lived a normal life but things are looking up after receiving a multi-organ transplant back in late August.

Forte says he is grateful for a chance at a normal life.

“I am thankful for a new life,” Forte said. “I am grateful for the new things that I can do, and I am thankful for the new organs that I have.”

Tony received the organs after a 12-year-old boy died the day before he flew down to Miami for the transplant surgery. Tony says he does not know much about the boy.

“I know he was about my age,” Forte said. “I know we had the same blood type.”

Tony says that he will never drink or smoke when he gets older because he made a promise to take care of his new organs in honor of the boy who passed away.

Tony says this Thanksgiving will be much different compared to years past.

“I have no more food restrictions,” he said. “I am looking forward to turkey and mashed potatoes.”

Anyone interested in sending Tony their well wishes can mail cards to CB Smith Park & Campground, Site 44, 900 N. Flamingo Road, PemBroke Pines, FL, 33082.

Anyone who would like to make a donation to help Tony’s family with expenses should visit aftft.com or send funds by mail at the Antonio Forte Transplant Fund Trust, 2131 Fruitville Pike, Lancaster, PA, 17601.

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Bill would outlaw denial of transplants to the disabled – Worcester Telegram

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 BOSTON – Mental or physical disabilities could not form the sole basis for denying a person an organ transplant under a bill sent to Gov. Charles D. Baker Jr.’s desk Wednesday, outlawing a practice that might not occur at all in Massachusetts.

Backed by the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress, the bill would empower the attorney general to take civil action and allow courts to impose civil penalties of up to $50,000 for the first violation or $100,000 for any subsequent violations.

The bill explicitly bars medical providers from using a mental or physical disability – as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act – from serving as the sole basis to deem someone ineligible for receiving an organ transplant or denial of insurance coverage.

Jane Lane, a lobbyist for the Down syndrome group, said there are no known cases of disability-based discrimination occurring in Massachusetts but there have been issues around the country.

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), a Virginia-based non-profit, is under contract with the federal government to manage the nation’s organ transplant system, and a spokeswoman said it’s unlikely the bill would have bearing on the program.

UNOS spokeswoman Anne Paschke said the transplant centers that evaluate patients for potential donations take a holistic approach, considering the person’s support network, ability to care for themselves, overall health and even their ability to pay for necessary post-surgery treatment – rather than basing a decision on one factor.

“A few medical conditions might rule out a transplant,” UNOS writes on its webpage. It says, “In general, health issues that may keep you from having surgery or taking long-term medication may be reasons not to list you. Examples can include current or recent cancer diagnosis or morbid obesity.”

According to the organization, 120,000 people are waiting to receive a donation and on average 22 people die every day waiting for a transplant.

People with Down syndrome are living much longer than they did decades ago. According to the National Down Syndrome Society, the average lifespan for people with Down syndrome has increased to 60 today from 25 in 1983.

Rep. Tom Sannicandro, whose 32-year-old son has Down syndrome, said he “absolutely” believes prejudice against people with intellectual disabilities is “rampant in every segment of our society.”

Sannicandro said after his son was born the doctor ruled out hearing loss because he was only looking for a type of hearing loss associated with Down syndrome. About a year later after visiting another doctor, Sannicandro learned his son had a different form of hearing loss.

“I think that delay caused permanent damage to his ability to form speech,” Sannicandro told the News Service. Saying the bill’s aim is to “pre-empt any potential problems,” Sannicandro – who did not seek re-election – was pleased to learn it had been enacted. He said, “Wow. That’s awesome. I guess we’re doing good work.”

The bill was filed by Rep. James Cantwell, a Marshfield Democrat.

“People always say, ‘Does this really happen?'” Cantwell said, citing the widely reported news story that a hospital in Philadelphia had refused to allow Chrissy Rivera to give her own kidney to her daughter because of the young girl’s intellectual disability – known as Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome. She eventually received the kidney from her mother at the same hospital.

Rhonda Mann, a spokeswoman for Tufts Medical Center, which transplants hearts and kidneys, said it is “standard practice” at the facility that patients may receive organs regardless of physical or mental disability.

When an earlier version of the bill (H 4332) was up for a hearing in May, the executive director of the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress said Stanford University in 2008 determined that 85 percent of pediatric transplant centers consider intellectual or developmental disability as a factor at least some of the time when determining eligibility for a transplant.

“They might have a misperception that the quality of a life for a person with a disability isn’t what they would consider a good quality of life, so they might say, ‘Well, maybe they aren’t as much in need of a transplant as somebody else,'” said Maureen Gallagher, the executive director. She said, “It’s old, outdated, stereotypical attitudes.”

The bill would also prohibit placing someone at a “lower-priority” position on an organ transplant waiting list solely because of a disability.

The UNOS spokeswoman said the priority rankings are based on organ-specific medical factors. She said heart and liver transplants are based on the urgency of the situation and the proximity between the donor and the patient.

The bill clarifies that it does not require “medically inappropriate organ transplants” and allows medical providers to take disability into account when making treatment recommendations.

A spokesman for the governor declined to say whether the bill would be signed into law, saying the administration “will carefully review all legislation reaching the governor’s desk.”

After Heart Transplant, Simsbury Teen Fulfills Dream Of Returning To Football – Hartford Courant

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Danny Deitz told Dave Masters he’d be back after he got a new heart. He told his football coach he would be Simsbury’s kicker his senior year.

So Danny kicked. And kicked.

“I couldn’t kick a ball 20 yards,” Deitz said. “I’ve always known that. I just wanted to give it a shot. That’s the only shot I thought I had.”

“He worked all summer,” Masters said. “He was pretty terrible at it. His real mission was to get back with his friends, to play football, trying to find a way to contribute in some capacity.”

Deitz didn’t want to be a team manager. He wanted to play.

“That’s when I got a call from the doctors two weeks before the start of the season and they said, ‘We’ve talked to your surgeon, we’ve been talking to each other for a while. We think if playing football will make you happy, that’s what you should do.'”

So he went back to his position as wide receiver and on Oct. 21 against Bulkeley/Weaver/HMTCA he had his first pass reception and on Nov. 4 against Enfield he had his unforgettable touchdown moment. And ultimately, there he was again Tuesday, walking out with his parents, Terry and Trish, on Senior Night before his final game, a 28-13 win against Avon.

“He is the miracle kid,” Masters said.

In 2015 Danny was diagnosed with an enlarged heart, the result of a genetic mutation in which the protein in his heart attacked itself. He would undergo a seven-hour heart transplant surgery on Sept. 11, 2015. This was at the point where he would first spend 39 days in the hospital and after things went wrong spend another 28 days to have a pump called a left ventricular assist device inserted so blood could circulate through his body.

“I walked into that hospital room and you see a room full of machines,” Masters said softly. “You see how thin he got. You see how weak he got.”

The Simsbury football coach paused to recall the frightening moment at Boston Children’s Hospital, looking at a boy with end-stage heart disease, and then he allowed his mind to fast-forward a year.

“Out of the blue, I got a call from Terry that Danny was cleared to play,” Masters said. “It’s hard to believe when you first hear it. Does that even make sense?

“It’s unbelievable, really unbelievable. I thought, ‘This is a true miracle.'”

On Sept. 10, 2015, 24 hours before the coin toss of a Simsbury game, Deitz was told a heart was ready for him at Boston Children’s. The surgery would be a success. A year later, there would be another call. He could play football. He could be a wide receiver. Forget kicking.

“I was shocked, surprised,” Dietz said. “I was nervous. My whole life I gave football everything I had. I didn’t want to come back for my last season and not be able to do that.”

Junior year had been difficult for Deitz. He watched as some of his best friends became the impact players he always wanted to be.

“It also was hard seeing the team struggle through a season I could do nothing about, but I think it was even harder being away from my brothers,” Deitz said. “It’s not intentional, but unless you’re there working with them, going through the grind every day, you feel left out from that bond. I definitely felt close to them, but there’s a difference from when you’re actually next to a guy sweating, about to throw up after sprints.”

The brotherhood of the vomit: Could there be a more eloquent description of athletic camaraderie?

Deitz was assured his sternum would be as strong anyone’s. As an extra measure, he was fitted with a motocross chest plate. He goes through extra warmup exercises. His engine takes a little more time to get going. He has a suppressed immune system and is on medication, so he stays away from the bacteria factory in the weight room.

The football pieces can be as difficult as the physical exertion. Missing his junior year, being brought up to speed this fall, Deitz has not played regularly. This does not mean he has not made an impact. Deitz’s journey, a journey that galvanized a town, would parallel Masters taking over as coach early in 2015.

“I collapsed everything, started fresh as a program,” said Masters, also Simsbury baseball coach who had been football assistant. “From his surgery, carrying a machine around with him … Danny has meant everything. We used him as an example of how to fight uphill. It has had everything to do with the growth of a program. The things I care about, the way I wanted to build something based on character and perseverance.”

Simsbury started 0-4. The 31-13 victory over New Britain led to four successive victories. Deitz saw his first action in Game 6. He caught a couple of passes. The fans went crazy.

“I’ll never be the star receiver I thought I could be,” Deitz said. “But at that moment, I felt like this is where I belonged. I felt this is right.”

“His return coincided with us bouncing back as a team,” Masters said. “The kids got the message. You can do whatever you want to do, whatever you believe in.”

The message was never more poignant than in the third quarter of a 52-14 win Nov. 4 at Enfield. Deitz caught a 14-yard pass and it took a handful of defenders to take him down at the 7.

“He was literally dragging guys, wanting to get in the end zone so bad,” Masters said.

The next play, Masters’ son Jackson rolled out. Deitz broke off his route and Jackson found him in the end zone. Touchdown. Remarkable, Masters thought.

“Ever since I was a little kid, I dreamed of being the guy who got the touchdown under the lights,” Deitz said. “If you watch the film, I was so excited and then I just stand there. I was kind of blown back. It was a long time coming for that dream. Something I didn’t think that would ever happen.”

Terry Deitz, a retired fighter pilot who still flies for American Airlines, found Danny after the game. Deitz may be one of the more well-known guys on the “Survivor” series contestants, but this was his boy.

“He was crying,” Danny said.

In advance of Simsbury’s final game, the team had a bonfire Sunday. One by one, the 18 seniors spoke. Danny’s medical history would not be his topic. No, his words were about about how much others meant to him. It was a powerful moment, Masters said.

“I talked about how my football family and my brothers with me changed my life and how they helped me go through something I never thought I’d have to get through,” Deitz said. “It was really nice to get a chance to let everyone know how much that meant to me.

“From the start, they gave me all the love in the world.”

His chest is strong now. His heart is strong. There are medications to boost his immune system. He hasn’t been getting sick. Because there is so much continual cardiovascular work, he says he likely will forgo his senior year in lacrosse. He hasn’t picked a college yet, but he’s looking to go west. His sister Kayla plays lacrosse at San Jose State, he has family out there and the weather is fine.

“I take meds at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. and checkups soon to be biannually,” Deitz said. “Besides that, the rest of my life is however I want to live it.”

He doesn’t sweat the little things now. He said people may think after what he has gone through, he may want to sit back and take the safe route in life. Wrong.

“It has given me more hunger to experience and live,” Deitz said. “I’m trying to get my pilot’s license. I want to go skydiving. I intend to do all the crazy things I always wanted to do. I don’t intend to limit my life.”

A year after a heart transplant, the families of the donor and the recipient are allowed to connect anonymously. Deitz sent his letter.

“I haven’t gotten one back,” Deitz said. “I owe my life to that person. I love that person. I can never be more thankful. I wish I could know who it was.

“I don’t blame them [if they don’t get back]. What they’ve gone through is equally and more than what I went through. I can’t even imagine. They lost someone they love. I gained life from that … I just want to thank them for that life.”

So as he walked off the football field a final time and into the rest of his life, Danny Deitz said he has a dream or maybe it’s a promise.

“That’s not to waste a second of the life I was given,” he said softly. “I owe that to my donor.”

Rapid Steroid Withdrawal Cuts Diabetes After Transplant – Medscape

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CHICAGO — For kidney transplant patients at low immunologic risk, chronic corticosteroid therapy can be rapidly withdrawn after induction therapy with either basiliximab or rabbit anti-thymocyte globulin (AGT), results from the 12-month HARMONY study show.

“We thought that maybe basiliximab would not be as strong an immunosuppressant as the rabbit AGT regimen, but this was not the case. They were equivalent,” said Christian Hugo, MD, from the University of Dresden in Germany. “This was surprising to us.”

And the added benefit was a marked reduction in the development in post-transplant diabetes mellitus in the first year after transplantation,” he reported.

Dr Hugo presented findings from the multicenter randomized controlled HARMONY study here at Kidney Week 2016; the results were published online simultaneously in the Lancet.

After kidney transplantation, about one-third of the patients received induction therapy with basiliximab plus the gold-standard immunosuppressive regimen established in the SYMPHONY trial about a decade ago: the combination of low-dose tacrolimus, mycophenolate mofetil, and oral corticosteroids.

About one-third received induction therapy with basiliximab plus the immunosuppressive regimen, but corticosteroids were withdrawn 8 days after transplantation.

And about one-third received induction therapy with rabbit ATG plus the immunosuppressive regimen, but corticosteroids were withdrawn 8 days after transplantation.

There was no difference in the primary end point — biopsy-proven rejection rate at 12 months — between the three treatment groups, or in the safety parameters.

At the 12-month evaluation point, patient and graft survival were “excellent and equivalent” in all groups, Dr Hugo reported.

Table. 12-Month Outcomes in the HARMONY Study

Treatment Group Biopsy-Proven Acute Rejection, % Post-Transplant Diabetes, % Graft Survival, %
Continuous steroid use 11.2 39.2 96.1
Rapid steroid withdrawal after basiliximab induction therapy 10.6 23.9 96.8
Rapid steroid withdrawal after rabbit AGT induction therapy 9.9 22.7 95.8

In the year after transplantation, diabetes mellitus developed in patients who experienced the rapid withdrawal of steroids at almost half the rate of those who continued on maintenance steroids (P = .007), Dr Hugo explained.

This finding is not inconsequential, he pointed out. Many studies have shown an association between survival and the development of diabetes after transplantation over the long term.

One such study showed that new-onset diabetes was not associated with graft loss, but was associated with an increased risk for death with a functioning graft over long-term follow-up (Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2008;3:814-821).

However, Dr Hugo stressed that the rapid withdrawal of steroids after transplantation is only safe and feasible for patients at low immunologic risk for rejection.

“This was a German study, so virtually all patients were Caucasian, 95% were first transplant patients, and 90% of patients had no plasma reactive antibodies, so they were not sensitized before we started with the trial,” Dr Hugo explained. In addition, “we had a very short cold ischemia time.”

“Those are all circumstances that make up a low-immunological-risk patient,” he added.

“My take-home message is, at least for low-immunological-risk patients, HARMONY may be better than SYMPHONY,” Dr Hugo said.

“Our transplant patients are living longer and longer, so they are getting comorbid conditions, including diabetes, infections, and cancers,” said Gretchen Brandt, MD, from Kaiser Permanente in Washington, DC, who was not involved in the study. “We want them to have a good quality of life and not get these complications.”

“Post-transplant diabetes is so difficult to manage downstream for nephrologists,” she told Medscape Medical News. “It’s nice to be able to think about them becoming steroid ‘free-ish’.”

The study was funded by Astellas Pharma, Sanofi, and Roche Pharma. Dr Hugo reports financial relationships with Astellas, Novartis, Roche, BMS, Pfizer, Boehringer Ingelheim and Amgen.

Kidney Week 2016: American Society of Nephrology Annual Meeting: Abstract HI-OR03. Presented November 19, 2016.

New lung transplant technique could save lives: study – New Vision

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Doctors typically rush to complete a transplant within about six hours of the lungs being taken from a donor, with time being of the essence because the tissue starts to break down.
Lungsinsert 703x422

A new technique could help nearly double the precious few hours surgeons have to carry out lung transplants, raising hopes for saving more lives, said a study released Friday.

Doctors typically rush to complete a transplant within about six hours of the lungs being taken from a donor, with time being of the essence because the tissue starts to break down.

But the new method, which uses a process called ex-vivo lung perfusion (EVLP), could help keep lungs outside the human body for over 12 hours without significantly harming their eventual recipient’s chances of survival.

The extra time means more transplants could be performed because organs which were previously too far away could now reach recipients in time, said the study published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal.

Getting the organs to recipients is the difference between life and death for people on wait lists, and who number about 1,700 in the US and Canada alone.

The process starts with the lungs being taken from a donor and then put on ice immediately. After being moved to the hospital where they are needed, the organs undergo EVLP.

This consists of warming the lungs and continuously pumping a liquid full of oxygen, nutrients and proteins through them, at which point the “paradigm shifts from slowing death to preserving life,” the study says.

If the lungs are simply cooled, standard practice calls for the transplant to happen within six to eight hours of being outside the donor’s body. But with EVLP, which takes at least four hours, the deadline can be pushed out to over 12 hours.

“At a time when there is a critical shortage of lungs available… combining cold preservation and EVLP will hopefully make a lot more donor lungs available for successful transplantation,” wrote lead author Marcelo Cypel, a surgeon at Toronto General Hospital.

The study focused on 906 adults who got lung transplants at Toronto General from 2006-2015, comparing those whose organs did and did not undergo EVLP.

The authors found people who got organs given EVLP and kept outside the human body for more than 12 hours spent a similar amount of time in the hospital as those who did not.

Also, both groups of patients had similar levels of life-threatening complications and survival rates one year after surgery.

While the researchers said the results suggest EVLP provides “additional benefit” over just icing down the organs, the “maximum safe preservation time for human lung transplantation remains unknown.”

Denton A. Cooley, surgeon who performed first US heart transplant, dies at 96 – Washington Post

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By ,

Denton A. Cooley, a heart surgeon who performed the first successful heart transplant in the United States and helped make many other advances in cardiac surgery, including valve replacement, bypass operations, removing aortic aneurysms and the development of heart-lung machines, died Nov. 15 at his home in Houston. He was 96.

His death was announced by Texas Heart Institute, which he founded in 1962, and where he continued to work until earlier this week. The cause was not disclosed.

As early as the 1940s, when he was a medical student at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Cooley built a reputation as one of the most innovative and productive surgeons of his time. He assisted on the first “blue baby” operation in 1944, correcting once-fatal congenital heart defects in infants, and over the course of his career performed an estimated 100,000 surgeries.

In the 1950s, he collaborated with another Houston heart surgeon, Michael DeBakey, developing techniques in heart-bypass surgery and working on a heart-lung bypass machine, which could keep patients alive during open-heart surgery. Working under the older DeBakey at the Baylor University College of Medicine in Houston, Dr. Cooley helped develop surgical methods to repair aortic aneurysms.

But the two strong-willed surgeons had an acrimonious split in 1969, after Dr. Cooley performed the world’s first transplant using an artificial heart. DeBakey said the device had been developed by his own team and was, in essence, stolen by Dr. Cooley to promote his glory and in violation of medical ethics.

The resulting quarrel became so public and rancorous that it was featured on the cover of Life magazine under the headline “A Bitter Feud.”

What no one could dispute, however, was Dr. Cooley’s sure-handed proficiency in the operating room. The 6-foot-3 onetime college basketball star improved his dexterity and precision by tying surgical knots in a small matchbox. His skill led to an early specialty in cardiovascular surgery on children.

“In many people’s opinions, including mine, he is the finest heart surgeon to ever live,” James Willerson, Dr. Cooley’s successor as president of the Texas Heart Institute, told the Houston Chronicle. “He was the most rapid. Had the finest hands.”

As the rivalry between DeBakey and Dr. Cooley continued to fester, DeBakey remained affiliated with Baylor and Houston Methodist Hospital, while Dr. Cooley ran the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital. The two facilities were within a few hundred feet of each other and provided an unexpected benefit to heart patients.

“The two [doctors] transformed what had been a medical backwater into the cardiovascular surgery center of the world,” Thomas Thompson wrote in the 1971 book “Hearts: Of Surgeons and Transplants, Miracles and Disasters Along the Cardiac Frontier.”

During the 20th century, heart disease emerged as the leading cause of death throughout the developing world. Advances in treatment and surgical methods were at the forefront of medicine across the globe during the 1960s, culminating in the world’s first successful heart transplant, by South African doctor Christiaan Barnard, in December 1967.

When Dr. Cooley sent him a congratulatory telegram, he couldn’t resist adding a boastful twist: “Congratulations on your first transplant, Chris. I will be reporting my first hundred soon.”

After studying Barnard’s surgical technique, Dr. Cooley completed the first successful U.S. heart transplant on May 3, 1968, giving a 47-year-old man a heart from a 15-year-old girl who had committed suicide. The patient survived for 204 days. Over the next year, Dr. Cooley performed 22 heart transplants.

Even as Dr. Cooley and other surgeons opened new medical possibilities, religious leaders and medical ethicists pondered the morality of the transplant procedure. The debate revolved around whether death occurred when the brain stopped functioning or when the heart stopped beating.

“I look upon the heart only as a pump, a servant of the brain,” Dr. Cooley told Life magazine in 1968. “Once the brain is gone, the heart becomes unemployed. Then we must find it other employment.”

The DeBakey imbroglio was in part rooted in this ethical dilemma. In 1969, Dr. Cooley sought to use an artificial heart as a temporary measure while the patient awaited a human heart from a donor. It was never clear how Dr. Cooley obtained the artificial heart developed by DeBakey, but a member of Dr. Cooley’s medical team had once worked for DeBakey.

At any rate, the episode put federal grants at risk and resulted in Dr. Cooley’s censure by the American College of Physicians. DeBakey said his onetime colleague “disappointed me with his ethics” and that his actions were “a little childish.”

They didn’t speak for almost 40 years before they reconciled in 2007, one year before DeBakey’s death at 99.

Denton Arthur Cooley was born Aug. 22, 1920, in Houston, where his father was a dentist and real estate investor.

Dr. Cooley studied zoology at the University of Texas at Austin, where he starred on the basketball team and graduated in 1941. He received a medical degree from Johns Hopkins University three years later.

He assisted his mentor, Alfred Blalock, in the first “blue baby” operation in 1944, correcting a heart defect that prevented an infant from obtaining a sufficient amount of oxygen. The experience led Dr. Cooley to his specialty as a heart surgeon. He later performed a successful “blue baby” procedure on the child of a Houston war hero, earning plaudits in his home town.

Dr. Cooley served as an Army surgeon in Austria from 1946 to 1948 before continuing his medical training at Johns Hopkins and in London. He returned to Houston in 1951.

Working with DeBakey, he helped develop a heart-lung machine — using parts from a coffee pot — to maintain the circulatory functions of the heart during surgery. Dr. Cooley became known for his work on infants and for his skill at replacing damaged heart valves and correcting aneurysms in arterial walls.

As the use of artificial hearts declined in the 1970s, Dr. Cooley focused more on coronary bypass procedures. He supervised as many as 30 operations a day and, for a time, his Texas Heart Institute reportedly performed one-tenth of all open-heart surgeries in the United States. He performed his final operation when he was 87.

Among those who observed Dr. Cooley in the operating theater was Barnard, who in his book “One Life” (1970) described one operation as “the most beautiful surgery I had ever seen. . . . Every movement had a purpose and achieved its aim. Where most surgeons would take three hours, he could do the same operation in one hour.”

Dr. Cooley’s wife of 67 years, the former Louise Thomas, died in October. A daughter, Florence Cooley, committed suicide in 1985. Survivors include four daughters, Mary Craddock, Susan Cooley, Louise Cooley Davis and Helen Fraser; 16 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.

Dr. Cooley, who made as much as $10 million a year in his medical practice, filed for bankruptcy protection in 1988 after failed real estate investments. He paid back $85 million to his creditors.

He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 1984. He was the author of eight medical textbooks and more than 1,000 articles and published a memoir, “100,000 Hearts,” in 2012. Among his avocations, he played the upright bass in the Heartbeats, a swing band made up of physicians.

Like many surgeons, Dr. Cooley was brimming with self-confidence and was not known for false modesty. When he was a defendant in a medical liability trial, a lawyer asked Dr. Cooley if he thought of himself as the world’s best heart surgeon.

“Yes,” he said.

“Don’t you think that’s being rather immodest?” the lawyer asked.

“Perhaps,” Dr. Cooley replied. “But remember, I’m under oath.”

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