Thursday, June 19, 2003

Man dies days after treatment


Muscle cells injected into heart

By Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MIDDLETOWN - Charles Emrick, one the few people worldwide to get a muscle cell transplant to repair his failing heart, died Tuesday, 12 days after going through the procedure.

The 71-year-old Middletown resident was pronounced dead at Middletown Regional Hospital shortly after collapsing at a restaurant.

On June 5 at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, Emrick became the first of up to 10 patients nationwide to get millions of leg muscle cells injected into their scarred hearts as part of a closely-watched experimental treatment for heart failure.

If successful, experts say the procedure could lead to longer life for people who suffer from heart failure.

Emrick got the experimental treatment as part of a second cardiac bypass operation. He needed the bypass because his heart had continued to weaken after damage from a heart attack suffered in 1981.

When leaving the hospital five days after treatment, he and Dorothy, his wife of 48 years, said they saw little risk in the attempt.

"I knew there was nothing else I could do or my doctors could do. So when (Dr. Donald Mitts) called, I said, 'Let's go for it.' If it didn't work, I'd just be back where I started and in a couple years I'd be laying flat on my back anyway."

It remains too early to say whether Emrick's death was directly connected to the experimental procedure and too early to decide whether to delay or halt the clinical trial, said Dr. Dean Kereiakes, medical director of the Lindner Center for Research and Education and principal investigator of the study.

The biggest potential side effect researchers feared from the experiment was an irregular heartbeat.

E-mail tbonfield@enquirer.com




TOP STORIES
Taft moves to help Butler
Soaked farmers hope for dry-out, and soon
Flynts may face old charges
City cuts Kroger deal on parking
Patton issues pardons for four
Lights flashed as car stalled
Site of fatal crash had lights, no gates

IN THE TRISTATE
Senate OKs concealed-carry bill
Ohio River cleanup day moved to July
Kings Island sued by family
Top police watchdog steps down
Boy, 14, gets 6 years for fatal shooting
Judge rescinds his child support order
Obituary: Dave Ashley was boxer, publisher
Photo of the Day: "I want him dead"

ENQUIRER COLUMNISTS
PULFER: Collector's items
HOWARD: Some good news

BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Man dies days after treatment
Wedding will look like 1803
Boy enters plea denying murder of his brother, 1
Ryland ordered to stop moving dirt in lead area
Schools OK $44.4M building plan
Mason rejects former Miami coach in light of pending charge
Center augurs well for Monroe's future
Meal program switches service

OHIO
Voinovich to have heart pacemaker installed Friday
Ohioan makes mark behind scenes
High water starts retreat in sodden northwest Ohio
Ohio lawmakers closer to budget deal
3 more inmates in Ohio set to die
Witness testifies to Traficant 'bribe'
Voinovich pushes regulations to guard against invasive species
Bill targets violence, vandalism on the farm
Ohioan killed in Iraq laid to rest
Ohio Moments

KENTUCKY
Italian restaurant coming to Crestview
Politicos shown a good time in N.Ky.
Plane missing since weekend eludes searchers
Airport still alert to SARS danger
Patton pities rapist killer