MINNEAPOLIS, OCT. 23 -- A transplant patient died a week after being given a heart from a donor of the wrong blood type, hospital officials said today.
The 43-year-old man's blood type had been incorrectly listed on a transplant-matching computer, said Dr. Robert Emery, director of heart transplantation for Abbott Northwestern Hospital and the Minneapolis Heart Institute.
The unidentified patient, who died after undergoing organ rejection Thursday, had type-O blood but received a heart from someone with type A, Emery said. He said the hospital and heart institute were investigating how the mistake occurred.
Had the patient been given a matched heart, Emery said, his chances of survival would have been close to 100 percent. He said the survival rate for type-O patients receiving transplants from type-A donors is about 60 percent.
Shortly after the new heart began functioning in the man's chest, laboratory personnel discovered the mistake. Doctors put out a call for a second, matched heart but none became available. The man had waited about six months for the first heart.
It looked like the patient, who was put on anti-rejection drugs, might survive despite the mistake, but his body rejected the organ Thursday, Emery said.
The patient's own heart was nearly destroyed by cardiomyopathy, a deterioration of the heart muscle. He also suffered from lung problems and kidney failure.