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Pa. Artificial Heart Patient Dies

August 26, 2002

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ The world’s fifth recipient of a self-contained artificial heart died Monday after suffering a stroke last week, hospital officials said.

James Quinn, 52, died at Hahnemann University Hospital after surviving almost 10 months with the AbioCor heart. Of the seven people implanted with the device beginning more than a year ago, only one is still alive.

The retired baker received the heart Nov. 5. One month later, he walked without assistance into a news conference; a small battery pack on a belt was the only evidence of the transplant.

All of the AbioCor patients were dying of heart failure and were too sick to qualify for human heart transplants.

The plastic-and-titanium device has an internal battery and controller that are implanted with the heart and an external battery that passes electricity through the skin.

Quinn suffered a stroke on Friday. Doctors said efforts to improve his condition were unsuccessful and he became unresponsive that evening. He was withdrawn from life support Monday.

``In every aspect, James Quinn was a hero,″ said Dr. Louis Samuels, director of the surgical team that installed the heart. ``He fulfilled his wish to be a pioneer, to live a little longer to see his grandchildren, and to contribute something to mankind.″

Tom Christerson, 70, is the longest living recipient of the device. Christerson, of Central City, Ky., has been steadily recovering at a hospital since he received the device Sept. 13.

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