Thursday, June 03, 2010

Nebraska Medical Center Performs First Heart-Kidney Transplant

It's not very often we hear of a combination heart/kidney transplant. And it was a very long procedure from 5:30am until 1:00am the next morning. That's 19½ hours on the operating table and it's great to see that the patient, David Gildea, is recovering nicely and looking forward to giving away his daughter at her August wedding.

By Carrie Evert

Omaha, NE - Two weeks ago, an Omaha man received two gifts of life, a heart and kidney. Before the historic transplant, David Gildea had end-stage heart disease and his kidneys were barely functioning, requiring daily dialysis.

"Medically speaking, he was about as sick as a person can get," said Clifford Miles, M.D., nephrologist at The Nebraska Medical Center.

Surgery began at 5:30am on Tuesday, May 18th and continued until 1:00am the next morning.

Today, Gildea, along with his family and his team of doctors sat down and talked about the double transplant, calling it a surreal experience. "I've always tried to be fairly positive, and I'm not a statistician, but the odds of pulling off what happened, they're not even odds." He also said to reporters today, "For somebody that's always been fit, you can't imagine how humbling it is to look at two or three stairs, and just dread the pee out of them."

His daughter says, "I'm beyond grateful for the donor, for their family, for their loss, and I, I can't even begin to thank the doctors."

He says he's now looking forward to giving away his daughter at her August wedding.

Gildea was diagnosed with amyloidosis, a rare blood disease affecting only eight of every one million people. People with the disease have abnormal deposits of amyloid in the their tissue or organs. In Gildea's case, his heart and kidneys were affected. Gildea will now require high-dose chemotherapy followed by an autologous blood stem cell transplant to halt the progression of the disease towards his transplanted organs.

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