Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Hormonal Therapy Offers Life to Heart Patients / Baptist Researchers Report

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Hormonal Therapy Offers Life to Heart Patients / Baptist Researchers Report

Article excerpt

been found to preserve donor organs for as long as two days in a laboratory setting, may extend life when administered to heart attack victims or patients with serious infections, Baptist Medical Center heart researchers believe.

Experimental and clinical findings will be reported today by Dr. David K.C. Cooper and Dr. Dimitri Novitzky of the center's Oklahoma Transplantation Institute during the fourth annual Christiaan N. Barnard Symposium, a prestigious scientific assembly in recognition of the 20th anniversary of Barnard's historic first human-to-human transplant.

Virtually all of the scientific data to be presented had its origins in South Africa. Novitzky is scheduled to present the lead paper.

Novitzky and Cooper have confirmed that a thyroid hormone - plasma free triodothyronine (T3) - drops to acutely low levels when brain death occurs. However, they also have learned that the same hormonal depletion occurs in heart attacks and in patients with "severe, overwhelming" infection, Cooper said.

"We know that when the hormonal level drops, the heart loses its energy source," said Cooper. "The same thing is happening in the body - in other organs."

The hormonal therapy concept was described as an outgrowth of biochemical studies aimed at the development of a storage system for donor organs.

"When T3 levels are low," said Cooper, "it means the cells cannot use oxygen properly. You can administer oxygen under those circumstances, and the cells still cannot use it properly. But T3 enables cells to use oxygen properly. Energy stores get used up when the heart stops."

Cooper and Novitzky will be involved here in a clinical research project intended to establish hormonal therapy as a viable treatment regimen for a variety of medically stressful situations.

Under the protocols, patients preparing to undergo routine heart operations, such as bypasses, will be divided into two groups:

- Approximately one-half the patients will be randomly selected to get the hormone. …

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