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July 26, 2001
First U.S. Lionheart TM Recipient Dies

Hershey, Pa. -- The first U.S. recipient of a pioneering heart device, the Arrow LionHeart TM , died late Tuesday evening (July 24) at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pa.

Edmond "Ed" Dzurishin, (pronounced: Zur-RISH-in) 65, of Hazleton, Pa., was the first patient to receive the LionHeartTM left ventricular assist system (LVAS) in the United States. He received the implant on Feb. 28.

The Arrow LionHeartTM, which is capable of taking over the entire workload of the left ventricle, received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for clinical testing in February. The system has undergone extensive clinical trials in Europe for the past year and a half. Walter E. Pae, M.D., professor of surgery with Penn State College of Medicine at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center led the surgical team that performed the first procedure in Germany as well as the team that performed the first in the United States on Dzurishin..

According to Pae, Dzurishin's death was not related to the device. People who need this kind of surgery have an extremely poor quality of life, are very critically ill and ineligible for heart transplantation because of age or other significant medical problems. Dzurishin was no exception, he said. However, patients selected for surgery must be strong enough to tolerate the operation. Dzurishin was..

In addition, he had a very strong support system with his loving family; a wife, three children and grandchildren, all of Hazleton..

"The LionHeartTM performed exceptionally well under extremely adverse conditions, especially a gastrointestinal bleed which he developed several weeks after surgery. This gastrointestinal bleed was so severe that it required colon resection. A very complicated and prolonged hospital course ensued and he did not recover," said Pae. .

"Ed truly was a fighter and survived many setbacks that, without the device, would have brought death. The team is truly saddened by his passing. You get close to these patients and their families and Ed was truly a hero. We're grateful that we had the opportunity to know him," Pae added..

Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., dean of Penn State College of Medicine and CEO of the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center said, "Our sincere condolences go out to the family. Ed and his family made a heroic contribution by being willing to participate in the study. He was critically ill, and lived nearly five more months than he might have without the LionHeartTM assist device. In a time when challenging questions are being raised about clinical research, this case illustrates how a brave patient, a supportive family, and dedicated physicians and scientists can work together to advance our knowledge of how to improve health care for all.".

Marlin Miller, chairman and CEO of Arrow International, said, "We are very saddened by Ed's death but remain encouraged by the performance of the device and will continue to work with our partners at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center to bring this technology to individuals who have no alternative.".

The technology for the LionHeartTM was developed by Penn State College of Medicine biomedical engineers and engineers at Penn State's main campus in University Park. The device itself was developed by a team at Penn State College of Medicine and Arrow International, Inc., of Reading.

Dr. Pae said that Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, in conjunction with their partner, Arrow International, are committed to continuing these trials in order to bring innovative technology to critically ill patients giving them a chance to have a better quality of life. "This technology will help thousands of people around the world, " he added. .

Mary Dzurishin, the patient's daughter, said, "We knew the risks involved when we all agreed this was the next step. My dad had all the confidence in the world in this medical center and the team of experts, and we feel the same. They gave him life and if his case can help one other person, then it was well worth it and that comes from my heart.".



Mindy Kelchner
College of Medicine/Hershey Medical Center
A'ndrea Messer
Public Information
814-865-9481-o 814-867-1774 (h)
Vicki Fong
Public Information
814-865-9481-o 814-238-1221 (h)

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