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Woman Gets 2nd Jarvik After Human Heart Fails

February 10, 1986|Associated Press

TUCSON — Doctors on Sunday implanted a second artificial heart into a woman whose transplanted human heart failed hours earlier, apparently making her the first person to receive two of the devices, hospital officials said.

The mini-Jarvik implanted in Bernadette Chayrez, 40, during emergency surgery on Sunday was not the same one that kept her alive for four days until it was replaced with a human heart on Friday, said Nina Trasoff, spokeswoman for University Medical Center.

Chayrez had been improving Saturday from surgery for bleeding problems when "serious problems developed suddenly," Trasoff said.

Head surgeon Jack Copeland and the family made the decision to go ahead with the second Jarvik implant "after it had become apparent her transplanted heart would not support her," she said.

"It was extremely sudden," Trasoff said. She did not know if the Food and Drug Administration had approved Sunday's implant.

"To our knowledge, this is the first time a person has been implanted with a second Jarvik," she said.

Chayrez received her first artificial heart on Monday as a stopgap measure to replace her own failing heart. The human-heart transplant four days later was done ahead of schedule because of problems with internal bleeding, doctors said.

The Phoenix woman, who had been healthy until her own heart was damaged by a viral infection last month, was the second woman to be kept alive with a mini-Jarvik artificial heart.

The heart recipient's mother issued a statement after her daughter was returned to surgery, asking for the public's prayers.

"At this time, we find that our daughter is in the last hopes, but we have belief in St. Jude for the impossible," Tillie Chayrez said in the statement. "We are praying to him for that little light to bring into our daughter's life."

Earlier Sunday, Trasoff said, doctors believed they had been successful in controlling internal bleeding during Saturday's three-hour operation.

"Nurses have told me that there is no sign of bleeding, that things are going very well," Trasoff said.

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