Stormie Jones

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Stormie Dawn Jones (May 30, 1977 – November 11, 1990) was the world's first recipient of a successful simultaneous heart and liver organ transplant. On February 14, 1984, Drs. Thomas E. Starzl and Henry T. Bahnson replaced the six-year-old's heart and liver at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.[1] Stormie had a condition which raised her blood cholesterol to 10 times normal levels.[1] The condition, a severe form of familial hypercholesterolemia,[2] and the resultant high levels of low density lipoprotein that damaged her organs, gave her two heart attacks when she was six years old.[3] The case showed that the liver controls blood cholesterol and that high cholesterol is controllable,[4] and was part of the research on cholesterol and the liver that won Joseph L. Goldstein and Michael S. Brown the Nobel prize in medicine in 1985.[2][3] Stormie died on November 11, 1990.[5] Her death was related to rejection of the heart transplant she had received in 1984.[6]

There were very specific reasons for performing a combined heart and liver transplant in this young girl. Due to her inherited condition, Stormie's liver was unable to remove cholesterol, i.e. LDL-cholesterol, from her bloodstream. As a result, her LDL-cholesterol levels became very high and caused her two heart attacks by age six. On the other hand, the transplanted liver, being normal and healthy, was able to clear the LDL-cholesterol from her blood. Indeed, after the transplant, Stormie's LDL-cholesterol declined by 81%—from an astounding 988 to a near-normal 184 mg per deciliter.[7] Since she was going to require lifelong immunosuppressant therapy anyway to prevent rejection of her transplanted liver, and since her heart had been severely damaged by her previous heart attacks, it was decided to also perform a heart transplant.

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  1. 1.0 1.1 New York Times. February 20, 1990. New Liver for Stormie Jones. Retrieved on July 2, 2007.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Time Magazine. Mar. 26, 1984. A One-in-a-Million Worst Case. Retrieved on July 2, 2007.
  3. 3.0 3.1 New York Times. October 15, 1985. Young Texas transplant patient is among many aided by Nobel research. Retrieved on July 2, 2007.
  4. Stormie Dawn Jones. Retrieved on July 2, 2007.
  5. Transplant History. Retrieved on July 2, 2007.
  6. New York Times. November 17, 1990. Girl's Death Linked to Transplant Rejection. Retrieved on July 2, 2007.
  7. New England Journal of Medicine. December 27, 1984. Liver transplantation to provide low-density-lipoprotein receptors and lower plasma cholesterol in a child with homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia