Jerry Is Recovering

The Carolina Panthers family received great news on Monday.  Owner Jerry Richardson is recovering well after undergoing a heart transplant on Sunday.

Jerry Richardson, the owner of the Carolina Panthers, was resting comfortably yesterday after undergoing heart-transplant surgery at Carolinas Medical Center.

The Panthers said that Richardson, 72, underwent a five-hour surgery that started at 8 p.m. Sunday and lasted until 1 a.m. yesterday.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Mark Stiegel and Dr. Eric Skipper. The Panthers issued a statement from Stiegel saying that “the donor heart was working well.”

Richardson had been put on the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) waiting list in early December, after being hospitalized for about a week. He had received a pacemaker/defibrillator the previous month. His heart problems go back to 2002, when he underwent quadruple coronary bypass surgery.

“It is such an unknown with a heart transplant — you don’t know if it will be two days, two weeks, two months, or longer,” Charlie Dayton, the Panthers’ director of communications, said yesterday.

“So it’s a relief knowing he has had the surgery, and everything is positive. There is just a whole lot of gratitude from everyone in the organization. We are all very grateful.”

Richardson’s last public appearance came at the Panthers’ playoff loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Richardson is expected to remain in the hospital for weeks, and the normal recovery time can take up to six months.

According to the most-recent data by the American Heart Assn., 87.4 percent of men who receive heart transplants live at least one year, and the five-year survival rate is 72.3 percent. There were about 2,300 heart-transplant surgeries in the United States last year.

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