World's second artificial heart patient leaves
Tom Christerson transitions to nearby
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - During a March 12
news conference at Jewish Hospital, AbioCor patient Tom
Christerson explained, "The hardest part of my recovery has
been being confined to bed for so long. I'm used to getting up
and doing things."
Christerson's physicians, University
of Louisville surgeons Laman Gray, M.D. and Rob Dowling, M.D.,
announced today that their patient's recovery got a bit easier
this week. Christerson was discharged on Wednesday, March 20 from
Jewish Hospital, where he has been recovering since his landmark
surgery September 13. He is now residing at The Inn at Jewish
Hospital, a hotel one block from the hospital. He is functioning
normally with minimal help from his family.
"The rest of Mr. Christerson's
routine, such as twice daily rehab and occasional lab tests, will
remain the same," Gray explained. "However, he should
feel less like a patient now that he's able to sleep and relax
outside of the hospital."
The move to The Inn at Jewish Hospital
is the first of many steps that physicians hope will allow Christerson
to return to his home in Central City, Ky.
"We'll use the time at The Inn
to assess how Mr. Christerson and his family feel about managing
and maintaining the device on their own," Dowling said. "Once
everyone is proficient and comfortable with the equipment, we
hope to plan some short visits to Central City, ultimately allowing
him to return home for good."
During the transition from hospital
to home, preparations for Christerson's release include training
hospital and emergency staff in and near Central City on the type
of care a patient with this device might need.
StatCare staff will be flying to Muhlenberg
County near the Christerson's Central City home to participate
in a training March 27, said John Blumenstock, Executive Director.
"We want to cooperate in every way we can to address any
care needs Mr. Christerson might have once he leaves Jewish Hospital."
Christerson was the second patient
in the world to receive the AbioCor Implantable Replacement Heart,
manufactured by ABIOMED, Inc., of Danvers, Mass.
The Christerson family will be inviting
members of the press to accompany him on an outing in the next
seven to 10 days. Until then, family members ask that members
of the news media respect their privacy as they work toward this
Jewish Hospital is among the
top ten cardiac centers in the United States and, along with the
University of Louisville, is dedicated to excellence, research
and education. University of Louisville surgeons at Jewish Hospital
have performed many heart care "firsts," including Kentucky's
first heart transplant, the world's first heart transplant following
the use of a Thoratec bi-ventricular assist device, the world's
first endoscopic saphenous vein harvest and the first ventricular
remodeling in the region.