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Heart Transplant Recipient Homeward Bound
March 27, 2007, Volume 53, No. 27

Gary Onufer heading home

Ronna Gersh, Critical Care Nursing (left) joined Dr. Michael Acker, surgeon, and Élan Howell, (right) nurse coordinator for the Total Artificial Heart Program at UPHS in walking their pioneering patient, Gary Onufer, and his wife, Joan, out of the hospital where Gary received a total artificial heart which kept him alive until he got a human heart two weeks ago.

Penn’s first Temporary Total Artificial Heart Implant (TAH-t) recipient, Gary Onufer, received a donor human heart on Sunday night, March 11 after having lived at HUP with the TAH-t for 28 days. The Heart Transplantation and Mechanical Assist Programs at Penn had given him the artificial heart on February 12 as a “bridge to transplant.” The patient and members of the surgical team gave a press conference last month (Almanac February 27, 2007) at which Mr. Onufer said, “It feels great to be a pioneer.” After getting his donor heart, the ecstatic patient said he had three times the energy now. He was discharged from the hospital and went home on Thursday, March 22.

 

Almanac - March 27, 2007, Volume 53, No. 27