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Transplant patient in good condition

January 06, 1998

Transplant patient in good condition

By LISA GRAYBEAL

Staff Writer, Chambersburg

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A 20-year-old Waynesboro woman who had a heart and lung transplant on Dec. 23 at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was moved Monday from the cardiac intensive care unit to a regular patient floor, according to hospital spokeswoman Sarah Jarvis.

Sara Henke was listed in good condition at the hospital Monday afternoon and the transfer is a sign she's improving, Jarvis said.

The next three months are critical for Henke, since she is at highest risk for rejecting the organs during that time, said Dr. Nancy Bridges, Henke's cardiologist and medical director of the hospital's thoracic organ transplant program.

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After the three months, Henke will have to stay close to the hospital for awhile once she's discharged so she can be checked regularly, Bridges said.

The team of doctors who performed the nine-hour surgery, led by Dr. Thomas Spray, believes Henke should be able to live a relatively normal life once she recovers from the surgery, although she'll always need to take medication to prevent organ rejection.

Doctors replaced one lung and the heart from an organ donor close to her age.

Henke was in the hospital's intensive care unit for more than six months waiting for the transplant.

She was receiving continuous intravenous medication to support her heart, which developed an abnormal blood vessel connection, causing blood to flow through the lungs without picking up oxygen. The rare complication, which stemmed from a heart condition Henke was born with but was corrected with surgery, developed when she was a teen.

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