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Heart Patient Has Kidney Problem

March 19, 1986

HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) _ The latest recipient of an artificial heart has gone on kidney dialysis, postponing possibly for more than a week an operation to give him a new human heart, doctors said Wednesday.

Robert Cresswell, 48, of Huntingdon gained 20 pounds of fluid since the implant Monday of the Penn State heart, said Dr. G. Victor Rohrer, associate dean for patient care at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

″He underwent two sessions of renal dialysis late (Tuesday) afternoon and evening, which removed a good deal of fluid from his body,″ Rohrer said.

Cresswell’s weight, which had gone from 196 pounds to about 215 pounds, had fallen back to 194 pounds after the treatments, he said.

No dialysis was needed during the day Wednesday, said medical center spokesman Carl Andrews.

Because of the kidney problem, Cresswell was taken off the list for a donor heart. Rohrer said doctors hope Cresswell’s kidneys will improve within several days, although he could remain on dialysis for five to 10 days. He then will be considered for a donor heart, Rohrer said.

Despite the diminished kidney output, Cresswell’s condition was improved to critical and stable. Cresswell’s blood pressure was stable, his temperature was normal, there were no signs of any neurological problems and there was no more bleeding in his chest, Rohrer said.

Blood clots, a dangerous side effect seen with other artificial hearts, have not affected the two people who have received the Penn State heart so far. The clots can cause strokes.

Anthony Mandia, 44, survived 11 days on the plastic, one-pound pump in October before receiving a human transplant. He died 17 days later of infection.

Rohrer said the usual precautions against infection are being taken, such as keeping Cresswell in an isolated room.

Cresswell was given the Penn State pump during eight hours of surgery Monday, six days after he had received a human donor heart. His body rejected the donor heart and he suffered two cardiac arrests before the artificial heart was implanted.

Doctors said he had suffered primary heart muscle disease and congestive heart failure.

Small blood vessels that had developed around the transplant donor heart as part of the healing process continued to bleed until the day after the surgery to implant the pump.

The kidney problems were not a surprise, since the immune suppressant drugs Cresswell had been taking to fool his body into accepting the donor heart are toxic to the kidneys, Rohrer said. Cresswell’s kidneys showed falling output while he still had the donor heart, the doctor said.

Cresswell, an unemployed electronics factory worker, was alert. He is on a respirator and has tubes in his throat, which prevent him from talking.


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