LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A teen-ager who was said to have been healthy 10 days ago was being kept alive Friday by external pumps that were assisting his diseased heart, surgeons said.
Doctors were hesitant to transplant a human heart into the youth because they feared a mysterious viral infection would destroy it.
Michael C. Jones, 16, of Indiana, was listed in critical condition at Jewish Hospital here. Doctors said his blood circulation was being aided by two small pumps called ventricular assist devices, or VADs, which were made by Thoratec Laboratories Corp. of Oakland, Calif.
20% Chance of Survival
Unlike the Jarvik-7 artificial heart, which has been implanted three times in humans, the VAD is intended to rest atop the abdomen, circulating the blood until cardiac muscle can recover. Twice before, doctors said, it has been used to keep a patient alive until a human donor heart could be located. Both cases were in California.