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Fifth U.S. Hand Transplant Patient Heads Home to NY
Date:2/17/2009

ding a phone with his new right hand, shaking hands in greeting, opening a door, writing with a pen, grasping a water bottle, throwing and bouncing a ball, and picking up objects three inches wide. He can lift a bucket weighing 12 pounds with his right hand and a 20 pound crate with two hands." Hondusky will continue therapy three times week after returning home.

Kadiyala Ravindra, M.D., University of Louisville assistant professor of surgery, who manages the anti-rejection drug therapy for Hondusky said, "Erik has had a few mild rejection episodes over the past three months, which were not surprising, and we were able to treat each with medication. He is doing remarkably well and we expect him to continue to do so."

Hondusky received one dose of Campath, an immunosuppressive medication, during surgery and is on mono-therapy -- one drug for most of the past three months. Maintaining a patient on one drug as opposed to two or three, reduces the risk of rejection. Risks associated with immunosuppressive drugs include a higher incidence of cancer, infections and other disorders.

"Reducing the number of drugs a patient is on will continue to reduce the risks associated with hand transplantation and we believe we can achieve this with our patients going forward," said Ravindra. "We will also continue to monitor him very closely for signs of rejection with biopsies and other laboratory tests."

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.

A partnership of physicians and researchers at Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center, Kleinert Kutz and the University of Louisville developed the pioneering procedure. Breidenbach and his team are the only surgeons to perform hand transplants in the U.S. To date, there have b
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SOURCE Jewish Hospital
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