Wednesday, January 11, 2012

'Beating heart' transplants could boost success rate

The Boston Globe | Liz Kowalcyzk

Amy DeStefano was a single mother juggling family life and a full-time job three winters ago when she caught what at first was just a persistent February cold. Then it spiraled into pneumonia and spread to her heart.

By last January, DeStefano, at 39, was on the waiting list for a heart transplant at Massachusetts General Hospital.Her wait ended late last month when the social worker from Portsmouth, N.H., became the first patient in New England to receive an experimental “beating heart’’ transplant.

Cardiac transplant surgeons have high hopes for the technology, which is approved in Europe, believing it could improve survival rates for recipients because the donor hearts will be in better condition.

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