Doctor - Prognosis guarded for artificial heart patient

Wednesday, November 21, 2001

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The prognosis for the first recipient of a self-contained artificial heart is guarded, his doctor said Tuesday, nine days after the man suffered a debilitating stroke.

Bleeding and swelling were detected in Robert Tools' brain during a follow-up CT scan Monday. The 59-year-old patient suffered the stroke Nov. 11, prompting doctors to put him back on a ventilator a week ago.

"I feel his prognosis is guarded and it is too premature to make any speculation," said Dr. Laman Gray Jr., one of the surgeons who implanted the plastic-and-titanium AbioCor into Tools' chest on July 2 at Jewish Hospital in Louisville.

Tools' neurologist said Tuesday that bleeding and swelling are conditions that can be common after a stroke and did not cause a "significant clinical change" in Tools.

"There was some hemorrhage into the original stroke, but there was no evidence of a new stroke," Dr. Lynn Simon said. "The small amount of hemorrhage was not unexpected with the kind of stroke" Tools had.

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