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Haydon’s Vital Signs Remain Stable - He’s ‘Awake And Aware’

February 18, 1985

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) _ Murray P. Haydon’s vital signs remained stable today after he became the world’s third permanent artificial heart recipient, and one of his doctors said Haydon has less to worry about than the average open-heart surgery patient.

The 58-year-old former autoworker was listed in critical but stable condition at Humana Hospital Audubon, where surgeons implanted the mechanical heart in a 31/2 -hour operation Sunday.

″I’m very pleased to tell you that Mr. Haydon ... had a very uneventful night,″ said Dr. Allan M. Lansing, chairman of Humana Heart Institute International.

In a briefing at 7:30 a.m. today, Lansing said doctors hoped to start feeding Haydon intravenously later today. He also said Haydon was breathing on his own about half the time and probably would be breeathing without assistance by the end of the day.

″I can’t think of anything right now that I would be tremendously worried about,″ Lansing had said Sunday.

Haydon ″has the usual problems of any open-heart patient, minus the chance that he might develop something wrong with his heart,″ such as an irregular rhythm, said Lansing, who also is medical director of the Humana institute.

Sunday night, Haydon was ″awake and aware and able to move all his limbs and extremities,″ said George Atkins, a Humana spokesman.

Juanita Haydon visited her husband Sunday while he was still under anesthesia, and though he did not open his eyes or speak, he was able to squeeze her hand, said Robert Irvine, a Humana spokesman.

She kept repeating, ″Murray, I love you,″ according to Humana photographer William Strode, who was in the room.

Lansing observed the operation during which Dr. William C. DeVries scooped out the weak and deteriorating ventricles of Haydon’s heart and stitched the Jarvik-7 mechanical heart into place.

The operation was expected to last 41/2 hours - a record pace in itself - but took an hour less, thanks in part to an absence of scar tissue.

The first such implant, on Barney Clark in 1982, took 71/2 hours. The second, on William J. Schroeder in Nov. 25, took 61/2 hours.

″Gonna start charging for this procedure, we’re getting so good at it,″ DeVries quipped to other members of the surgical team, which finished the operation before 11:30 a.m.

″It went perfect, couldn’t have gone better,″ said DeVries, the only man authorized by the federal government to perform the implants.

He followed as Haydon was wheeled on a bed to the hospital’s intensive-care unit, checked the maze of tubes and wires in the high-tech cubicle, and patted his patient gently on the chest.

″He’s got good color, hasn’t he?″ DeVries said.

The operation was videotaped by Humana and an edited version, with DeVries’ comments, was replayed for reporters.

The tape included a close-up shot of the plastic and metal device in place before DeVries closed Haydon’s chest.

The Jarvik-7 clicked and pumped distinctly as compressed air was fed to it through flexible tubes that will protrude permanently from Haydon’s chest.

Lansing said the only major difference between the second and third implant was that Haydon was immediately given a drug to prevent blood clotting. Schroeder wasn’t given anti-clotting medicine until a few days after surgery.

He suffered a series of strokes on Dec. 13, the 18th day after his surgery. Doctors considered blood clots to be among the likely culprits.

Schroeder, who is recuperating in a private room on the same floor of the hospital as Haydon, reportedly replied, ″That’s good,″ when told Haydon had breezed through surgery.

Lansing said Sunday’s operation was ″more routine″ than was Schroeder’s implant, and the surgical team was ″extremely comfortable and confident.″

″It was even quieter and more calm and there was not quite the tremendous excitement″ in the operating room Sunday, Lansing said.

Before the operation, doctors said Haydon was stronger and healthier than the first two artificial heart recipients and thus stood a better chance of living a relatively normal life with the plastic heart.

″I feel much better, I feel much more confident in this situation than I did with Mr. Schroeder,″ the last artificial heart recipient, said Lansing.

Schroeder, in his 85th day on the artificial heart, is recovering from a fever, the latest in a series of complications that have delayed his release from the hospital.

Clark lived 112 days with the device but never left the Salt Lake City hospital where he underwent the operation.

Haydon, who smoked cigarettes for 40 years, suffered from cardiomyopathy, a progressive deterioration and swelling of the heart that left him unable to get out of bed and unable to leave the hospital for the past three weeks, Lansing said.

The Jarvik-7 artificial heart, a metal and plastic assembly weighing two- thirds of a pound, is powered by a $40,000 external air compressor the size of a small refrigerator.

For the rest of his life, Haydon would remain tethered to that drive system or to a smaller, battery-powered compressor the size of a camera bag that can allow him to live a relatively normal life.

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