The first long-term survival after a heart transplant in a person with AIDS offers new hope to patients.
Robert Zackin of the Harvard School, in the US was suffering from a fatal heart condition. This was an apparent reaction to a medicine he was taking for the treatment of the deadly AIDS. He has now been alive and well for two years after a heart transplant at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio, USA.
While the drugs used for the treatment of AIDS, keep the deadly virus in check, they damage vital organs such as the liver and heart. As a result these patients become candidates for organ transplants.
Robert Zackin, became infected with HIV in 1986 and was diagnosed in 1992. Side effects from the drug daunorubicin apparently led to his heart problems. By 2000 he was looking for a heart transplant.
By then, his heart was so weak, a balloon pump had to be implanted in his aorta to keep him alive. Three weeks later, he got his transplant.
Even though Zackin has to have regular transfusions, he is now working full time and exercising regularly.