Amazing story..scary how he was the picture of health one week and close to death the next due to a viral infection that weakened his heart...BD

Los Angeles resident Daryl Vinson, 39, desperately needed a heart transplant but was allergic to heparin, a blood thinner that plays a critical role in transplantation surgery. Rather than allowing their patient to languish and die, members of the heart transplant team at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center created an alternative, using a synthetic form of a protein found in the saliva of leeches. Bivalirudin was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of certain cardiac conditions, but because it has no antidote and its use in transplantation is so new, the doctors had to develop a game plan and specific protocols in advance of the operation. Vinson, a former Air Force air traffic controller who also served with the Global Command and Control System, caught what he thought was a common cold that quickly got worse in early June. After suffering a nearly fatal collapse, he was diagnosed with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, a severely weakened, poorly functioning heart.

While dilated cardiomyopathy can be caused by a number of factors, including reduced blood flow to the heart ("ischemic" disease), Vinson's condition likely stemmed from a viral infection.
"Mr. Vinson appeared to be in relatively good health, so it was a surprise to everyone, including his physicians, that his heart function was so bad," says Ernst Schwarz, M.D., Ph.D., a specialist in transplantation cardiology.


Rare Use Of Drug Derived From Leech Saliva Lets Heart Transplant - And Wedding - Proceed


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