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Kentucky Heart Baby Undergoing Dialysis

From Times Wire Services

Robert Dean Cardin, the 25-day-old infant struggling to survive after receiving a new heart, had to be placed on dialysis to remove fluid from his lungs and body, a hospital spokeswoman in Louisville, Ky. said Sunday.

Baby Jesse, meantime, spent Father’s Day with his dad six days after receiving the heart of a brain-dead Michigan boy in a life-saving transplant and was recovering well, said a hospital spokeswoman in Loma Linda, Calif.

Jesse Dean Sepulveda, who underwent the surgery Tuesday, was visited by his father, Jesse Sepulveda, 26, shortly after noon Sunday at Loma Linda University Medical Center.

The infant “continues to progress well . . . and is very alert and active,” Jayne McGill, spokeswoman for Loma Linda University Medical Center, said in a recorded statement. The infant was expected to begin mouth feeding as early as today.

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The Kentucky child, formerly known as Baby Calvin, was in critical condition but was described as being awake and alert at Kosair Children’s Hospital, said spokeswoman Charlotte Tharp.

“His vital signs are good and his blood pressure is good,” she said.

But because his urine output began to slow, the infant was placed on peritoneal dialysis to remove fluids from his body and lungs, she said.

“His kidneys have been making urine but haven’t been removing fluids quickly enough,” she said, and doctors became concerned about fluid building up in his lungs. She noted that the dialysis does not mean the kidneys have failed.

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He also remains connected to a ventilator to assist his breathing, she said.

Dr. Constantine Mavroudis, the surgeon who performed the five-hour transplant operation Friday, hopes the dialysis continues for just a few days, she said.

Tharp said the 6 1/2-pound child has shown no signs of rejecting the new organ, which came from a week-old baby known only as Baby Michael at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, Conn.

Robert is the son of Wendell and Patricia Cardin of Glendale, Ky., and was born May 21 suffering from a heart defect. Doctors gave him no chance of survival unless a heart transplant was performed and his name was placed on the national organ-procurement network May 30.

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