Double hand-transplant patient in critical but stable condition

Associated Press
This photo submitted by University of Pittsburgh Medical Center shows teams of surgeons working to transplant two hands simultaneously on Jeff Kepner, of Augusta, Ga. at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, in Pittsburgh.

An Augusta man who received the nation’s first double hand transplant is in critical but stable condition, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center announced this afternoon.

Jeff Kepner, 57, received the first bilateral transplants in a 9-hour operation on Monday, the hospital said.

Mr. Kepner lost his hands and feet to a devastating bacterial infection in May 1999 and was one of the first to fulfill the testing and protocols required to qualify for the program at the Pittsburgh hospital. He will also receive a new anti-rejection regime for such transplant that aims to cut down on the side effects from the standard protocol.

Mr. Kepner will receive a bone marrow transplant from his donor to help his immune system accept the new hands, and will then be maintained on a single anti-rejection drug.

He is expected to stay in the hospital for a month and then spend three more months in Pittsburgh undergoing intensive rehabilitation. For now he is “being closely monitored in the transplant intensive care unit at UPMC Montefiore,” the medical center said in a statement.

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