CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has made it through the hardest part of heart transplant surgery but still faces an arduous road to recovery.
Dr. Mark Stiegel, who the Panthers said was one of the surgeons who performed Richardson's transplant, wouldn't talk specifically about any patient at Carolinas Medical Center due to privacy laws, but indicated Tuesday night that the most stressful time is over.
Richardson, 72, underwent a five-hour surgery Sunday night and is resting comfortably, according to team officials.
``Your most critical time is actually in the operating room,'' said Stiegel, who has been performing heart surgeries for 23 years. ``Once the heart starts working there are very few things that will alter that process.''
Stiegel said the next thing physicians worry about is rejection.
those, 94.7 percent of the patients survived one month, 89.5 percent survived one year and 80.7 percent lived at least three years.
``Once the heart is working it's like going downhill,'' Stiegel said. ``You're on the downslope then. It's a matter of them getting through the surgery period and getting them through the operative period which is normally within five to seven days. But the biggest risk is immediate.
``Once you're off the heart-lung machine and the heart is working on its own you feel really good about that.''
Age and physical condition also play a factor in a patient's recovery process and potential life span.
Richardson will be kept under the watchful eye of physicians for a long time, particularly the next 12 months.
After a heart transplant, most patients have a biopsy once a week for the first month. After that they go biweekly for the next two months and then about once a month for the rest of the year, according to Ted Frank, a cardiologist and medical director of heart transplantation at CMC.
``Patients undergo frequent biopsy procedures to survey for rejection and intensive evaluation for infection as well as how the organ is working,'' Frank said.
larly. It's an arduous process over the lifetime of a patient.''
Frank said once a patient has recovered from the process they encourage them to live an active life with very few limitations.

Recent NFL Discussions

Betting the 2017 NFL Draft on Tue, Apr 2017 by Blade
NFL Draft Preview on Tue, Apr 2017 by Blade
2017 Heisman Odds on Wed, Mar 2017 by Blade
College / NBA today on Sun, Mar 2017 by TtomBoBadly
SNOW on Tue, Mar 2017 by Michael Cash

Top NFL Public Bets

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail NFL Draft Prop Odds The 2017 NFL Draft gets underway later tonight. Here is a look at some of the featured prop odds for tonight’s first round.
Thumbnail Alabama NFL Draft Odds The Alabama Crimson Tide could have a lot of players taken in the first round of the NFL Draft next week. How many...
Thumbnail Odds Theory & Fantasy: Perfect Combo In America alone over 110 million people settled down to watch February’s Super Bowl and were rewarded by a game which saw many twists and turns along the way. Of...
Thumbnail Romo moving to CBS After a lot of discussion about where Tony Romo will be next season, it appears that he will be behind a broadcast booth.
Thumbnail Patriots remain SB52 Favorites With NFL free agency slowing down dramatically over the past week, here's a look at the most recent Super Bowl 52 odds to win.

NFL Team Pages