Monday, January 29, 2001

NKU student gets heart transplant

By Kristina Goetz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A 21-year-old Northern Kentucky University student got the heart Sunday that he had long been waiting for.

        A spokeswoman for University of Kentucky Hospital said Ryan Drake received a heart in a nine-hour surgery that started just after midnight Sunday.

        “He is in very critical condition in the intensive care unit,” said Maureen McArthur, a hospital spokeswoman.

        “It's just so early. I can tell you the transplanted heart is working well. (But) he was very sick when he got it.”

        Family members are in Lexington, holding vigil for Mr. Drake, the son of David L. and Kathy Drake of Independence.

        Doctors had been worried about the young man's dete riorating condition. He was diagnosed several years ago with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart muscle.

        His condition worsened recently, requiring him to be hospitalized in December. That moved him to the top of the transplant list for his region.

        Although he had been connected to a machine to keep him alive, that was only a temporary measure, relatives said. He was given three weeks to live without a new heart.

        For information on becoming an organ donor, call LifeCenter at (800) 981-5433 or Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates at (800) 525-3456.


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