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Artificial Heart Transplanted

March 18, 1986

HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) _ Doctors Monday implanted a Penn State artificial heart into a 48-year-old man whose body rejected a transplanted heart he received six days earlier, the Hershey Medical Center said.

The eight-hour operation on Robert F. Cresswell marked the second use of the artificial heart, which is designed to serve as a bridge until a donor heart can be found.

Cresswell was placed on a respirator and listed in critical condition following the surgery, which ended around 9:30 p.m. and was complicated by bleeding of small blood vessels, said center spokesman Dr. John W. Burnside.

Cresswell’s vital signs were good, although he was not expected to regain consciousness until Tuesday, Burnside said.

Cresswell, of Huntingdon, suffered cardiac arrest Monday afternoon as he was being wheeled into surgery, was revived, and the surgery began, Burnside said.

Faith Cresswell was at the medical center during her husband’s surgery. The couple have six children, and Cresswell works at ELCO Corp.

″Again, it’s a desperate situation,″ Burnside said. ″He’s alive now. He would not be alive if something had not been done.″

Cresswell received a heart transplant March 11 at the hospital, but his condition began deteriorating over the weekend, said Dr. Dwight Davis, assistant professor of medicine.

″The patient experienced acute rejection and was monitored closely for 24 to 48 hours. During that time he received heart medication and was sustained by an intra-aortic balloon pump,″ Davis said.

″When Cresswell’s general condition had declined and his body began to reject the transplanted donor heart, a decision was made to implant the Penn State heart,″ he said.

The Penn State heart, developed by Pierce, is used as a last resort until a donor heart can be found.

Anthony Mandia, the first recipient of the artificial heart, survived on the device for 11 days until a human donor heart was found.

The Philadelphia bachelor received the artificial heart on Oct. 18. He survived on the 1-pound, plastic air-driven device until he received the heart of a West Virginia woman on Oct. 28.

Mandia, 44, died Nov. 14 from complications linked to an infection along his chest incision.