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Hand Transplantation Marks Historical 10-Year Milestone
Date:1/21/2009

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Jan. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Medical history was made 10 years ago, greatly impacting the future of transplantation and reconstructive surgery around the world when a team of surgeons performed the first hand transplant in the U.S on January 25, 1999. The procedure, also called composite tissue allotransplantation, criticized by some in the hand surgery community and lauded by others in the world of organ transplantation, has continued to lead to other innovative surgeries, such as face transplant.

A press conference will be held to mark the 10-year anniversary of hand transplantation on Monday, January 26, 2009 at 1:30 p.m. (EST) at the Jewish Hospital Heart and Lung Center, 201 Abraham Flexner Way, Louisville, Kentucky.

Segments of the press conference and b-roll will be up linked via satellite from 3:30-4 p.m. (EST). Coordinates for the link are:

Satellite: AMC 6 - TR 24

72 degrees west

Downlink frequency 4180 horizontal

Audio 6.2 6.8

A partnership of physicians and researchers at Jewish Hospital, the University of Louisville and Kleinert Kutz & Associates, who developed the hand transplant program, will be in attendance. Speakers at the press conference will include:

  • Matthew David Scott, world's first successful hand transplant recipient
  • Warren C. Breidenbach, M.D., Kleinert Kutz & Associates, lead hand transplant surgeon
  • Kadiyala Ravindra, M.D., Jewish Hospital Transplant Surgeon; Assistant Professor of Surgery, Division of Transplant Surgery at University of Louisville
  • Joseph Buell, M.D., Director of Jewish Hospital Transplant Program; Professor of Surgery, Division of Transplant Surgery University of Louisville

Matthew Scott, who received his new hand on January 24-25, 1999, will provide his perspective on the innovative procedure he underwent ten years ago, when surgeons from the University of Louisville and Kleinert Kutz & Associates performed the 14 1/2-hour procedure at Jewish Hospital.

A New Jersey native, Scott is an instructor at Camden County College. He can use his transplanted hand for everyday living activities, and experiences hot and cold sensation in the hand. He lost his dominant left hand on December 23, 1985, in a blast from an M80 firecracker accident.

Other U.S. hand transplant recipients include:

  • Gerald David Fisher from Michigan became the second hand recipient on February 17, 2001. In 1996, Fisher underwent amputation of his non-dominant left hand at the wrist as a result of a fireworks accident.
  • David Savage from Michigan, third hand transplant recipient on Nov. 29, 2006. Savage lost his hand in an industrial accident more than 30 years before the surgery.
  • Dave Robert Armstrong, a California resident, was the fourth hand recipient on July 12, 2008. Armstrong injured his dominant right hand nearly seven years ago when a gun misfired.
  • Jan "Erik" Hondusky from New York became the fifth hand recipient on November 24, 2008. He lost his dominate right hand in a furnace accident on April 12, 2006 when his hand was crushed and burned thus requiring amputation.

Breidenbach, Ravindra and Buell will provide updates on all five men who have received hand transplants at Jewish Hospital.

Each patient was placed on one or more immunosuppressive drugs at a reduced dosage to lower the risks associated with the anti-rejection medication. Those risks include a higher incidence of cancer, infections and other disorders.

Jewish Hospital is the only center in the United States to perform the hand transplantation procedure. Other centers in the U.S. are now interested in performing the experimental procedure.

Kentuckiana Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA) coordinated the donation of the hands for all five U.S. hand transplant recipients. KODA worked very closely with the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization for the fifth hand transplant to coordinate the hand donation with the family and hospital. Without the help of these organ procurement agencies and the families, these procedures could not have taken place.

The third, fourth and fifth U.S. hand transplants are sponsored by the Department of Defense, Office of Naval Research and Office of Army Research to further research in the composite tissue allotransplantation program.

A hand transplant, unlike a solid organ transplant, involves multiple tissues (skin, muscle, tendon, bone, cartilage, fat, nerves and blood vessels) and is called composite tissue allotransplantation.

To date, there have been a total of 40 hands transplanted on 32 patients around the world.

Information, photography and video are available on our web sites at www.handtransplant.com and www.jewishhospital.org. Video on the website is not broadcast quality. For broadcast quality clips of the press conference and b-roll, go to http://handtransplant.com/media.asp.

Photo and interview opportunities will be available with the speakers. Also available will be:

  • Jan "Erik" Hondusky, the U.S. fifth hand transplant recipient
  • Bob Shircliff, president/CEO, Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare
  • Dr. Larry Cook, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, University of Louisville
  • Martin Bonick, President/CEO, Jewish Hospital
  • Jenny Miller Jones, Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates


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SOURCE Jewish Hospital, Louisville
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