URGENT Artificial Heart Operation For Patient in Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH (AP) _ A disabled factory worker facing imminent death received a Jarvik-7 artificial heart Thursday night to keep him alive until a permanent donor heart is found.
Thomas Gaidosh, 47, of Sutersville, underwent six hours of surgery at Presbyterian-University Hospital, said spokeswoman Mary Lou Michel.
Gaidosh, his new mechanical heart beating in his chest, was in critical condition, ″considered normal for surgery like this,″ according to hospital spokesman Tom Chakurda.
Dr. Bartley Griffith, a transplant surgeon with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, headed the surgical team, the hospital said.
Gaidosh, described as a ″mild-mannered man″ who loved to play the Italian game of boccie, had been waiting for a heart transplant for about a month. He suffered from idiopathic cardiomyopathy, heart disease of unknown origin in which heart function is greatly impaired, according to Chakurda.
″Death was immient. He would have been dead,″ said spokeswoman Mary Lou Michael. ″The decision was based on the fact that the man’s life was being threatened.″
Presbyterian-University Hospital, affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh, received permission from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in August to use the Jarvik-7 heart in life-threatening situations. The hospital’s board of trustees gave approval for the procedure in May.
Gaidosh, described as a large man over six feet tall, was aware that a Jarvik-7 might be used and gave his approval Thursday, said hospital spokesman Tom Chakurda. Gaidosh’s family was at the hospital and ″bearing up well under the circumstances,″ but not available for comment, he said.
″He’s a real mild-mannered man, very nice,″ said John Lawrenzi, a neighbor of Gaidosh in Sutersville, a community of about 950 people on the Youghiogheny River. ″You can’t help but like him.″
Across the state at Hershey Medical Center, meanwhile, the first recipient of the artificial Penn State Heart was reported to be free of clots and bleeding in what doctors said was a bright development in his recovery.
Anthony Mandia, 44, of Philadelphia, remained in critical but stable condition as he ended his first week of life with the one-pound, air-driven pump which is sustaining his life until a donor heart can be found.
He was free of complications that arose earlier in the week, said Dr. John W. Burnside, a spokesman for the hospital.
Mandia slipped in and out of deep unconsciousness on Tuesday. He was given treatments to clear his lungs and was given drugs to relieve the blood vessel ″vasospasms″ in his brain that triggered unconsciousness Tuesday, when he had been in critical and unstable condition. The output of the artificial heart was also slightly reduced.
Doctors said Mandia’s problem Tuesday apparently was vasospasms, a constricting of the brain’s blood vessels similar to what happens in migraine headaches, but covering a wider area of the brain.
The Hershey medical team has not been using anti-coagulation agents, except for aspirin and Dextran, which makes blood components ″less sticky,″ Burnside said.
″We have not had bleeding or clotting problems,″ Burnside said. ″That’s astounding and a great piece of news.″
The Penn State heart uses a one-piece seamless inner blood sac that developer Dr. William Pierce feels diminishes the chances of clot formation. He said Wednesday that the Jarvik-7 device uses a two-piece blood sac but is coated so the seams are smoothed and eliminated.
The seams are fashioned in different ways, Pierce added. The blood sac of the Penn State heart is made from a siliconized polyurethane that is cast against a silicone rubber mold while the Jarvik-7 sac is a poured polyurethane that is air dried, he said.
Research is continuing to see which design is more effective against blood clotting, which has posed serious problems in some artificial heart recipients, Pierce said.
Three permanent Jarvik-7 operations have been performed in Louisville and one each have been performed in Utah and in Sweden.
Temporary artificial hearts have been used six times to keep patients alive until donor hearts could be found for transplants.
The Penn State heart is intended only as a bridge for patients who run out of time while awaiting for a human donor heart. The Delaware Valley Tranplant program, which supplies Hershey with donated human organs, said the average waiting time for a heart donor is two to three weeks, although one other patient has been waiting six months.
The hearts must be matched according to body and blood type.
Burnside reiterated that ″no magic window″ has passed that would make a transplant impossible for Mandia. ″We’re waiting patiently,″ he said.
On Thursday, Mandia had some abdominal pain, which Burnside said appeared to be cramps. X-rays could find no problem.
Mandia, who has been taken off solid food for the time being, has lost about 12 pounds since the surgery and weighs about 150 pounds, Burnside said.
Mandia receives about 10 letters a day, and got a message and a hat from the Philadelphia Eagles football team.
″We’re rooting for you, just as you supported us during the game last Sunday,″ the message said.″Keep fighting. Best wishes.″
Burnside said Mandia picks the Eagles over the Buffalo Bills this weekend.