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Historic Heart-Lung Recipient Dies

May 7, 1986

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) _ Mary Gohlke, the world’s longest-lived recipient of a heart-lung transplant, has died after suffering heart failure and partial kidney failure.

Mrs. Gohlke, 50, of Mesa, died of internal bleeding Tuesday at Scottsdale Memorial Hospital, hospital officials said.

Doctors implanted a temporary pacemaker and placed her on a dialysis machine as her condition worsened early Tuesday morning, hospital spokeswoman Vickie Austin said.

Mrs. Gohlke received the experimental heart-lung transplant in 1981 at the Stanford Medical Center in Palo Alto, Calif. She was the fourth person ever to undergo such a transplant, and the first in 10 years.

She had been diagnosed as having cardiopulmonary hypertension. Her lungs had been damaged by complications from a cold and the resulting high pressure in the the lungs’ arterial system placed a strain on her heart.

Doctors said Mrs. Gohlke would have died without the surgery and estimated it would add five years to her life. Previously, the longest a heart-lung recipient had survived was 23 days.

Since her operation, there have been at least 140 heart-lung transplants.

A former newspaper advertising executive for The Mesa Tribune, Mrs. Gohlke detailed her experiences in a book, ″I’ll Take Tomorrow,″ which was published last year.

Mrs. Gohlke was hospitalized April 24 after tripping over a television cable in her home. An artery in her abdomen was damaged in the fall.

She then underwent surgery three times, the first time to repair the artery and twice to control internal bleeding.

Cyclosporine, a drug Mrs. Gohlke was taking to help fight rejection of her new organs, made her more susceptible to uncontrolled internal bleeding, doctors said.

Survivors include her husband, Karl, and two sons, Christopher, 22, and Luke, 19.

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