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Swedish Artificial Heart Patient, 53, Suffers Stroke

From Times Wire Services

The first non-American recipient of a permanent artificial heart has suffered a stroke and is in an intensive care unit at Stockholm’s Karolinska Hospital, a hospital spokeswoman said today.

Leif Stenberg, 53, who had appeared to make the fastest recovery of any permanent artificial heart patient, suffered the stroke “a few days ago,” Karolinska press officer Tania Blanck said.

She said that she had been in touch with Prof. Bjarne Semb, who performed the implant in April and that Semb declined to release any further information on Stenberg’s condition.

Before the stroke, Stenberg had been required to spend only his nights in the hospital. He was permitted to go to a specially equipped apartment near the hospital during the day.

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When Stenberg made his first public appearance July 19, carrying a 12-pound portable compressor to power his heart, doctors said he had probably recovered as much as artificial heart technology would allow.

The only previously reported complication in connection with Stenberg’s recovery was last June when Semb said his patient had suffered fleeting eyesight disturbances that might have been caused by a blood clot.

Stenberg received his Jarvik-7 heart April 7 and is the third-longest surviving recipient of an artificial heart.

Prosecutors last spring dropped tax evasion charges against Stenberg, a businessman, because of his ill health.

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