LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- The recipient of the first self-contained artificial heart has suffered a setback, requiring a ventilator once more to assist his breathing, one of his surgeons said.
The patient, who has not been identified, had a buildup of secretions in his lungs and was put back on the breathing machine Thursday because he remained too weak to expel mucus secretions on his own.
The man also had developed a pulmonary infection and was running a fever, Dr. Laman Gray, one of the University of Louisville heart surgeons who implanted the AbioCor artificial heart in the patient's chest, said Sunday night.
"This is nothing catastrophic, and it has nothing to do with the heart," Gray said. The problems are not life-threatening, he added.
The patient, a diabetic in his 50s, had been recovering enough since his July 2 surgery at Jewish Hospital that his doctors said he had been able to walk "effortlessly" on his own.
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