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News Releases

Hand Transplant Patient David F. Savage returns to Louisville

For Immediate Release: 11/27/2007

November 27, 2007             Barbara Mackovic
                                        Media Relations Senior Manager
                                        Office (502) 587-4230
                                        Cell (502) 641-5461
United States Third Hand Transplant Patient Returns to Louisville’s Jewish Hospital for One Year Check Up

LOUISVILLE, KY – Bay City, Michigan resident David F. Savage returned to Louisville today to begin a round of tests and exams for his one-year check up by Kleinert Kutz and University of Louisville physicians at Jewish Hospital.  Savage became the third person in the U.S. to receive a hand transplant on Nov. 29, 2006.

Savage, accompanied by his wife Karen, will begin the battery of tests and exams on Wednesday, Nov. 28, which will run through Friday, Nov. 31.  Evaluations and examinations will include a biopsy, MRI, ultrasound, laboratory tests, hand therapy and other evaluations.

Savage underwent a 15-hour hand transplant procedure which lasted 15 hours and involved a 34-member hand surgical team and a five-member anesthesiology team. The group of surgeons performing the innovative procedure also performed the world’s first successful hand transplant in 1999 and the nation’s second in 2001. Kentuckiana Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA) coordinated the donation of the hands for all three recipients.

A partnership of physicians and researchers at the Jewish Hospital Hand Care Center, Kleinert Kutz and the University of Louisville developed the pioneering procedure.  Warren C. Breidenbach, III, M.D., with Kleinert Kutz and assistant clinical professor of surgery at the University of Louisville, lead the surgical team. Kadiyala V. Ravindra, M.D., assistant professor of surgery at the University of Louisville, manages the immunosuppressive therapy of all three patients.

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.  In addition, the patient is placed on a combination of immunosuppressive drugs at a reduced dosage to lower the risks associated with the anti-rejection medication. 

Additional information regarding hand transplant is available at Media interested in an interview with Savage or his physicians should call Barbara Mackovic at      (502) 641-5461.

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Barbara Mackovic
Senior Manager

Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare Kleinert Institute Kleinert Kutz Hand Care Center University of Louisville School of Medicine