CHRISTOPHER MARSHALL SAID THOSE TWO GLORIOUS WORDS when his doctors asked how he felt just a few days after receiving a new heart at UW Medical Center on Sept. 11. The Alaska man made history by becoming the first total artificial heart patient in the Pacific Northwest to receive a donor heart. In a 10-hour procedure, UW surgeons Dr. Nahush Mokadam and Dr. Jason Smith, joined by a large team, gave Marshall his new heart. An avid outdoorsman and oil company worker on the North Slope of Alaska, Marshall had his heart removed in February by UW surgeons. It was plagued by idiopathic cardiomyopathy, which destroyed the heart muscle, and ventricular tachycardia, which caused his heart to beat too fast and irregularly, requiring shocks from an implanted defibrillator.
Between February and September, Marshall carried an experimental batterypowered driver in a backpack to power the polyurethane heart he had implanted.
After a stay in the ICU at UW Medical Center, Marshall was hospitalized for a few weeks. He and his wife, Kathy, will be staying around for another few months so doctors can monitor his progress.