PRESS CONFERENCE: First Double (Heart/Liver) Transplant in the Western U.S.
Date: Wednesday: Oct. 28, 1998
Time: 1:00 p.m. PST
Location: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center - Plaza Level North
8700 Beverly Blvd.
(Reporters, please go to the Plaza Level Lobby and ask for Delia Torres to be paged)
PRESS CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS:
Both of the lead surgeons from the heart and liver transplant teams will be available for questions/interviews at a press conference on Wednesday, Oct. 28, at 1 p.m. Also available at that time will be the patient's attending cardiologist, the director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Transplant Program, the Medical Director of the Liver Transplantation program, and the patient's parents.
B-ROLL OF THE PATIENT WILL BE AVAILABLE
AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS
LOS ANGELES (October 27, 1998) - In a 12-hour procedure that began at 10 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 24, two organ transplant teams at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center performed what is believed to be the first, or one of the first heart/liver transplants in the Western United States. The patient, 36-year-old Christine Galan, from New York, was suffering from complications of lupus which included dilated cardiomypoathy (dysfunction of the heart muscle), as well as multiple stones and strictures in her liver that were blocking the bile ducts, resulting in chronic liver failure and infection. In addition, three days before the transplant, she experienced renal failure and was placed on dialysis.
By Sunday evening, after the double transplant, Galan was off the ventilator, wanted to get out of bed and was asking for solid food. By this morning (Tuesday), she was sitting up in bed chatting, and this afternoon doctors plan to remove her chest tubes.
"This was an extremely high-risk procedure," says Steven D. Colquhoun, M.D., Program Director of Liver Transplantation Surgery at Cedars-Sinai, and the lead surgeon on this liver transplant team. "Any heart or liver transplant by itself, is risky," he says. "But when you do a multiple transplant, as was needed for Christine, the risk increases exponentially."
John M. Vierling, M.D., Medical Director of Liver Transplantation at Cedars-Sinai and Galan's attending hepatologist, agrees. "We transplanted the heart first, since we needed to establish good blood pressure and good blood flow before attempting the liver transplant," he says. "Because of the compromised condition of her heart, it was essential that she receive the new heart before undergoing the liver transplant."
According to Carlos Blanche, M.D., Associate Surgical Director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Transplant Program, and the lead heart transplant surgeon on this team, Galan's heart was deteriorating rapidly, causing her kidneys to fail. "I had planned to give her a mechanical heart on Monday, Oct. 26," he says. "But then the donor organs became available late Saturday, and we were able to do the double transplant."
The challenges were even more complex, says Lawrence S.C. Czer, M.D., Medical Director of Cedars-Sinai's Heart Transplant Program. "Because the blood's ability to clot begins to diminish within 30 minutes after removal of the liver, there was a high risk of bleeding during the second procedure, especially in the area of the recently transplanted heart."
According to Dr. Vierling, it was imperative that Galan receive both organs simultaneously. "She likely would not have survived a liver transplant had she not first received the new heart," he says. "Furthermore, had she received a new heart, without getting a liver at the same time, it is likely that she would have sustained a fatal liver or other infection when immune-suppression drugs are given to reduce the risk of organ rejection."
Galan has been hospitalized at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center since Aug. 11, 1998, and has been receiving antibiotics while awaiting a suitable donor. "She required ongoing acute care to keep her heart function optimal and she needed antibiotics to fight the chronic liver infection," says Dr. Colquhoun.
"I anticipate that she will go home in about two weeks, around Nov. 8 and in plenty of time for Thanksgiving," says Dr. Czer.
For media information and to arrange an interview, please call 1-800-396-1002.
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