Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Organ Donation and Transplant News

Selected news headlines

Heart transplant service resumes

Glasgow Royal Infirmary

Heart transplants in Scotland have resumed following a review into a number of recent patient deaths.

From BBC News - NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde revealed last month that four of the 11 patients who had transplants in 2007 had died within 30 days.

Operations at the Scottish National Heart Transplant Unit at Glasgow Royal Infirmary were stopped in December while experts looked into the deaths.

The review's findings will be submitted to the board in the next two weeks.

Conducted by a team of independent experts from other transplant centres in the UK, the review began on 8 January.

It included in-depth interviews with key members of the Glasgow transplant team and a thorough examination of patient records.

Following this work, the reviewers concluded that the Glasgow team could resume full services with immediate effect. Read the full article.

New hope for a heart
This article suggests that a pump, called a left ventricular assist device, or LVAD, might be a permanent alternative to a heart transplant for some patients.

From the Chicago Sun-Times - Gordon Gibbs, a 49-year-old electrician, barely survived a massive heart attack last August.

Gibbs was in the hospital for weeks, suffering fluid build-up, swelling and extreme fatigue. He could stay awake for only an hour at a time.

The heart attack, Gibbs said, "took out the whole left side of my heart."

But Gibbs has made a remarkable recovery, thanks to a pump that Northwestern Memorial Hospital surgeons implanted in his upper abdomen.

The pump connects to the left ventricle, the heart's main pumping chamber, and pumps blood through the body.

A wire that comes out of Gibbs' abdomen connects the device to a 5-pound battery pack he straps on his shoulder.

"I feel just as good as I felt before my heart attack," Gibbs said.

The pump is called a left ventricular assist device, or LVAD. Gibbs' LVAD, called VentrAssist, is a third-generation LVAD that's smaller, quieter and more durable than previous models over the past 20 years.

VentrAssist and other advanced LVADs on the market or under development potentially could give a near-normal quality of life to tens of thousands of patients with end-stage heart failure. Without LVADs, such patients typically live only a few months, much of that time in the hospital. Read the full article for information on side effects and costs associated with LVADs.

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