Health Highlights: Nov. 26, 2014

Health Highlights: Nov. 26, 2014

Health Highlights: Nov. 26, 2014

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Receives Heart Stent

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a stent placed in her heart's right coronary artery during surgery Wednesday.

The procedure was conducted at MedStar Washington Hospital Center after Ginsburg experienced discomfort during exercise Tuesday night and doctors discovered a blockage in the coronary artery, NBC News reported.

Ginsburg, 81, was resting comfortably and was expected to leave the hospital within 48 hours, according to the court.

For the past few years, Ginsberg has been exercising with a personal trainer at the Supreme Court gym. It was during one of those sessions that she experienced the discomfort, NBC News reported.

Ginsburg was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 and is the oldest sitting justice.


Double-Arm Transplant Patient Doing Well

An American man who received a double-arm transplant in October can already move his thumb and wrist, and is expected to continue to gain function and sensation in his new arms over the next several years.

At a press conference Tuesday, 40-year-old Will Lautzenheiser expressed his appreciation for the extraordinary gift, NBC News reported.

"I hope to be able to live up to the memory of this man and make this worthwhile," the stand-up comic and former film teacher said. "This person who is anonymous to me will always be as close to me as my own skin now, and it's really an incredible gift."

Lautzenheiser had both arms and legs amputated in 2011 after he developed an aggressive streptococcus A infection that led to sepsis. He was approved for the rare double-arm transplant earlier this year, NBC News reported.

The procedure at Brigham and Women's Hospital took nearly nine hours and involved a team of 35 clinicians, including 13 surgeons.

"You could not wish for a better patient," said Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, director of Plastic Surgery Transplantation, NBC News reported. "He's got the right attitude and he is incredibly diligent in everything he does."

The function of Lautzenheiser's limbs should continue to improve over the next several years as nerves regrow, and he will need to remain on immunosuppression drugs to prevent his body from rejecting his new arms, doctors said.

"There were so many things that I didn't even realize I missed doing and now the capacity for doing those things is within reach, literally within reach," Lautzenheiser told NBC News.

He was one of the first people to be put on a U.S. waiting list for arm transplants in July when changes in classification placed limbs and faces in the same category as organs such as lungs, hearts and kidneys.

"These sorts of transplants are becoming more common, although they are still relatively rare," said Dr. David Klassen, chief medical officer for the United Network for Organ Sharing told NBC News. "The whole community that is involved in this is sort of gradually expanding."

Lautzenheiser said he may consider leg transplants in the future, but is focused on his new arms for the moment.

"I think it will be at least a year or maybe two years before I start thinking about another major surgery that would require two years of rehab. I don't know how much of my 40s I want to spend doing rehab," he joked, NBC News reported.
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