You might expect little Andrew Craver to bounce back from surgery like this after
a few weeks. But what he went through, and how well he's doing, has medical experts
taking notice. "He was up walking around
the next -- was it the next day? Yeah.
I think within a few days he was riding a bicycle again!"
But it wasn't just any routine surgery Andrew had.
His case was historic. "One of the smallest
children to ever receive a heart transplant
without blood." And Dr. Mark Galantowicz of Nationwide Children's
Hospital led the effort -- one that required meticulous planning and teams of medical
experts in a growing field known as "bloodless" surgery. The approach was a
religious preference for the Craver family
but is becoming a technique of choice for a growing number of doctors.
Galantowicz, who is also with Ohio State University, says the idea is to
perform operations without using a single drop of donated blood. "The more
blood and the more foreign stuff you're exposed to,
the more revved up your immune system is." Which can lead to an inflammatory
response that could impact the new organ. To keep that from happening, doctors
limit how much blood they take for testing before surgery - modify
heart-lung bypass machines to make their components smaller
and employ newer technology to make it safer.
"We used what's called the 'cell saver' which captures any shed blood during the
processes it, and puts it right back into the body." Studies show using a
patient's own blood cuts infection rates by more than
half and costs are cut is well.
It was that team approach that put Andrew on the road to recovery.
Despite the thousand-mile round-trip to get here. "I think they take a
personal interest in not only the patient, but also in the family. And
they have a great respect for everyone's
At Nationwide Children's Hospital, this Clark Powell reporting.