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Q: HIV Heart Transplant Recipients ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: HIV Heart Transplant Recipients
Category: Health > Medicine
Asked by: mavis-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 23 Jun 2002 19:25 PDT
Expires: 30 Jun 2002 19:25 PDT
Question ID: 32125
Has anyone who is HIV positive ever received a heart transplant in the
Unitied States?
Subject: Re: HIV Heart Transplant Recipients
Answered By: knowledge_seeker-ga on 23 Jun 2002 21:06 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hi Mavis, 

Well, surprisingly (to me anyway!) the answer to your question is YES.

" On Feb. 4, (2001)  Harvard University biostatistician Robert Zackin
got a heart transplant. After enduring the wait for a lifesaving
organ, he became one of only three HIV-positive patients to receive
such an operation since 1996. Zackin's heart problems had multiple
causes, the most devastating being long-term chemotherapy for Kaposi's
sarcoma. "I was quite sure that I was not eligible for a transplant
because of my HIV status," the 38- year-old research scientist said."

And it looks like more are in the works:

" To research the efficacy of transplants on patients with HIV, the
University of California-San Francisco is performing a study that
seeks to enroll 75 HIV positive liver transplant patients over three
years in the first phase, and 300 liver, kidney and heart transplant
patients in the next phase."
(Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. August 19, 2001.)

And this from the UK:
More HIV-positive patients may be receiving transplants
" Of the thousands of transplant surgeries performed each year, the
United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) reported only 94 being
performed on HIV-positive patients between 1988 and 2000."

The answer surprised me because everything I read led me to believe
that positive HIV status eliminates a person from consideration for a
heart transplant.

According to The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute 

Patients under age 60 are the most likely heart transplant
candidates... patients must be suffering from end-stage disease and be
in good health otherwise. .. Patients who have ... other severe
diseases, active infections, or severe obesity--are not good
candidates for a transplant.

Harvard Medical School - 
In order to be admitted into a heart transplantation program, you must
meet certain criteria...  Medical problems that can disqualify a
potential candidate include significant kidney disease, HIV, pneumonia
or another active infection, cancer, a history of stroke or
significant circulatory problems affecting the brain and severe
insulin-dependent diabetes.

Johns Hopkins:
positive status "

I hope this has answered your question. I'm glad you asked it as I
learned something new in the course of my research.

Please feel free to ask for clarification if necessary.


Search terms used: 
"heart transplant" HIV
"heart transplant" AIDS

Clarification of Answer by knowledge_seeker-ga on 25 Jun 2002 07:10 PDT
Wow Mavis!

I just read your comment below, and I must say, you have just made my
day! How amazing that it's you! (and whew! good that I found that one
article). I'm glad you're doing well and I'm glad you chose Google
Answers to research your story. Most of all I'm glad I decided to work
on your question. Thanks for updating me on your story. I'll be adding
your info to my own data bank. Who knows, maybe recipient #3 will come
to Google Answers. :-)

Thanks again - K~

Clarification of Answer by knowledge_seeker-ga on 25 Jun 2002 15:59 PDT
Hi Mavis, 

Good News! The POZ article you mention below IS online: 


Enjoy!  -K~
mavis-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
This was a nice exchange for me.  I never paid.  I am going to try to
figure out how to pay now.



Subject: Re: HIV Heart Transplant Recipients
From: lensam69-ga on 23 Jun 2002 21:30 PDT
Actually they aren't banned.  They're informed that they have a higher
I was also performing this search (I'm a researcher wannabe in
training) and found this one:
From the UNOS.

4.2.1 HIV-Ab Sero-positive Transplant Candidates. A potential
candidate for organ transplantation whose test for HIV-Ab is positive
but who is in an asymptomatic state should not necessarily be excluded
from candidacy for organ transplantation, but should be advised that
he or she may be at increased risk of morbidity and mortality because
of immunosuppressive therapy.

You are right K~  It really was an interesting search.
Subject: Re: HIV Heart Transplant Recipients
From: mavis-ga on 24 Jun 2002 20:27 PDT

I am the questioner Mavis (my dog's name), and I thank you for your
prompt answer -- good job.  Robert Zachin seems to be the first HIV
recipient of a heart transplant, and I asked this question because I
knew a part of the answer, and wanted to see what google would come up

I was the second HIV positive recipient of a new heart -- on the
fourth of july 2001, at Columbia - Presbyterian medical center in
Manhattan. The San Jose Mercury News article on Robert Zackin feb. 4,
2001 heart transplant is still the key report I've found on line on
this subject.  There is a longer piece on my experience in the
December 2001  issue of POZ -- but that piece is not online, I don't
believe.  I've asked Zachin if he knows anything about the third
transplant ("3 since 1996" factoid in the san jose mercury news piece
on him) and he does not -- he wasn't the source for that.  So maybe
there are just we two (both of us doing fine, last I checked)

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