TUCSON — Artificial heart patient Michael Drummond today suffered several small strokes, slurring his speech, and his surgeons decided to go ahead with a replacement heart transplant as soon as one becomes available.
Dr. Jack G. Copeland, University of Arizona Medical Center heart surgeon, said the 25-year-old assistant supermarket manager from Cottonwood, Ariz., the world's youngest artificial heart recipient, probably would not suffer any permanent damage as a result of the tiny strokes.
Copeland said the clotting developed because Drummond's liver function had improved. He said doctors simply "got behind" on giving the patient the anticoagulant heparin and decided to increase the dosage.
Drummond's condition was listed by Copeland as "critical and unstable." The doctor said the urgency for a heart transplant was to head off any further medical problems from use of the Jarvik-7 polyurethane-and-aluminum heart.