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Man's heart miraculously heals just before canceled surgery
09.25.2012Around an hour after his personal attending physicians determined that a transplant would not save his life, the heart of a 23-year-old man from Omaha inexplicably started beating.
"His heart started working again on its own," Dr. John Um said to ABC News. "The left side of his heart was pumping blood again. The right side was still weak, so we slowly eased him off the [heart-lung] machine. At this point, he was in pretty good shape."
According ABC, Michael Crowe had been rushed to receive immediate care from emergency department physicians in mid-August. Once he arrived, healthcare providers determined that he was afflicted with heart muscle inflammation - also called myocarditis - that weakened his heart to the point where it was only operating at 25 percent of its normal capacity. His heart function had plummeted to 10 percent by the time he was placed in the intensive care unit at Nebraska Medical Center.
According to the Mayo Clinic, severe myocarditis results in a reduced ability of the heart to effectively pump blood, which could lead to the heart generating blood clots, or result in heart attacks or strokes. Symptoms of myocarditis include chest pain, abnormal heart rhythms, difficulty breathing, swelling of limbs and heart failure. In addition to viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi are listed as potential causes by the source.
Fox News reports that physicians successfully tracked down a donor heart three weeks later on September 3. Unfortunately, by that point Crowe was suffering from a toxic blood infection, and his chances of surviving a transplant procedure were very poor.
Then, news sources say, doctors observed that his blood pressure had spiked, which would not have been feasible if his heart was still completely reliant on machinery to keep beating. After an ultrasound scan showed his left chamber was back to normal, the doctors determined Crowe didn't need a heart transplant after all.
Dr. Um told ABC News that Crowe has returned home and is doing fine. He went on to explain that Crowe's heart deactivated so his immune systems could ward off an infection, and it switched back on once the infection had been purged. Because modern medical technology allows patients to remain hooked up to heart-lung machines for longer and longer periods of time, Um expects physicians to witness more of these types of recoveries, he said to ABC.
Categories: Health and Wellness
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