Surgeons at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha have performed the state’s first-ever heart and kidney transplant. The patient, 61-year-old David Gildea of Omaha, suffers from a rare blood disorder called amaloydosis. Gildea says he’s thrilled to be on the road to recovery.
Gildea says, “The hard part’s just starting, the regimentation and the meds, but I didn’t have a road, so it’s nice to have a road.” Combination heart-kidney transplants are rare as only 60 were done in the U-S last year and it’s the first in Nebraska.
Gildea says before the transplant, he knew his days were numbered. “I’ve always tried to be fairly positive and I’m not a statistician, but the odds of pulling off what happened are — they’re not even odds,” Gildea says. He says some days he just hoped to see the sun stay up a few more minutes.
Dr. Cliff Miles, a kidney specialist at the Omaha hospital, says this is a landmark surgery. “It’s an important step because there are multiple patients around who have failing hearts and failing kidneys in some combination,” Dr. Miles says. “I doubt it will ever be a procedure that’s by any means common, but to have the experience and to know that we have the ability to do it is a huge step.”
Meanwhile, Gildea is getting ready for the next part of his treatment — another transplant, this time, bone marrow. Otherwise, the disease which attacked his native organs will attack his newly transplanted organs. With a successful bone marrow transplant, his doctors expect him to have a normal life expectancy.