AKEEM NEEDS HEART TRANSPLANT
By STEPHON NICHOLAS Saturday, September 28 2013
After a third surgery overnight, Trinidad and Tobago and Ferencvaros defender Akeem Adams is still unconscious and in critical condition fighting for his life after suffering a major heart attack on Wednesday evening at his apartment in Budapest, Hungary.
Adams’ heart is severely weakened and damaged and his circulatory system is currently being managed by a mechanical heart at the Intensive Care Unit of the Heart Clinic Varosmajor.
Reports coming out of Hungary yesterday indicate he will need a heart transplant and Dion Sosa, a local representative of Adams, says the hospital is currently in search of a donor. The 22-year-old footballer is under the care of Professor Merkely Bela and supporting doctors and nurses. Adams’ mother, Ancilla, and his brother, Akini, left Trinidad aboard a British Airways flight at 6 pm yesterday and are currently on their way to Hungary to be with the young footballer in this difficult moment. Sosa spoke with Ancilla before she left and the Point Fortin resident is confident her son will survive this terrible ordeal.
“She is confident that when she gets there and speaks and prays with him, he will wake up and things will get better...those were her words at the airport,” Sosa said.
Speaking to Newsday yesterday, Dr Don Antonio Martin of the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, explained that a cardiac arrest in athletes can be as a result of several factors including abnormal heart rhythms, structural heart abnormalities or the effects of supplements or drugs. On Thursday, Adams’ club posted an appeal to fans and the general public to donate blood, listing 23 Blood Centres across Hungary and the required identification to be provided for the procedure.
In less than four hours there was a mad rush by concerned fans who donated close to two-three days worth of blood. Adams’ coach Ricardo Monix as well as a number of past and present officials and players of the club led the drive by donating of their own.
Orosz Pal, a club official at Ferencvaros, is praying for Adams and is keeping his fingers crossed that he can pull through.
“We hope for the best...We want him to, if not as a professional athlete, live a full life as a man among us could,” Pal said. Pal as well as Trinidad and Tobago team doctor, Terrence Babwah, revealed that Adams underwent all FIFA protocols and tests and there was no detection of any problems.
“We are talking about a 22-year-old man who is undergoing cardio-examined by all the FIFA protocol, and all were negative. There was no sign of any problem, he went through training, played all the games. It was not any problem, last night in his apartment in Budapest there was a problem...Thank God he had so much presence of mind to call our colleague (when he fell ill),” Pal continued. With their teammate in a battle between life and death, the distraught players of Ferencvaros will somehow have to rally together to resume league action today when they travel away to face second-from-last Puskas Akademia FC. Ferencvaros coach Ricardo Monix, a manager for 19 years including a three-year stint at Tottenham Hotspur, acknowledged that motivating his players today will be the most difficult task he has ever had.
“The whole team is deeply afflicted...It was a very good mood after the victory against Ujpest (in the derby match) in the locker room, but it’s now broken. I stand so far in my coaching career with the most difficult task,” said the Dutch coach.
Krisztián Simon, a winger at Ujpest, was horrified on learning what happened to Adams, and spoke of his brief interaction with the Trinidadian during a heated derby match on Sunday which Ferencvaros won 3-1. “I was shocked when I read what happened to Akeem Adams. When he fouled me last weekend, immediately he apologised, which in a fierce derby is a really nice, human gesture. During the derby there was no sign that this could happen to him a few days later. I’m shaken by the incident, I wish him a quick recovery on behalf of the team,” Simon said in an interview with the National Sport.
FIFA president, Sepp Blatter, has joined a number of other persons including Minister of Sport Anil Roberts and Soca Warriors coach Stephen Hart in wishing Adams a swift recovery. (See Page 7A)
About heart transplants
The first human heart transplant was done in 1967 by South African surgeon, Dr Christiaan Bernard. The first heart transplant recipients survived a short time.
According to Medline Plus Medical Encyclopedia, today the two-year overall survival rate exceeds 80 percent, and five years after surgery 70 percent of recipients will still be alive.
A heart transplant consists of three operations — the harvesting of the heart from a donor, the removal of the recipients damaged heart, and the implantation of the donor’s heart.
The donor is usually someone who has suffered irreversible brain injury. “Remarkably, if there are no complications, most patients who have had a heart transplant are home about one week after the surgery,” according to the online Medicine Net. However, the recovery period is about six months.
Patients can go back to normal activities as soon as they feel well enough, but they are advised to avoid strenuous activities.
Medline Plus noted a donor’s heart can be difficult to obtain as it must be donated by someone who is “brain dead”, but is on life support. The donor’s heart must match, as closely as possible, the tissue type to reduce the chance of the recipient’s body rejecting it.
A severe heart transplant may be done to treat severe angina that can no longer be treated with medications or other surgeries; severe heart failure when medicine, other treatments, and surgery can no longer help; severe heart defects that were present at birth and cannot be fixed with surgery; and life threatening abnormal heart beats or rhythms that do not respond to other treatments.
Risks of heart transplants include blood clots, damage to the kidneys, liver or other organs from anti-rejection medications, development of cancer from the drugs used to prevent rejection, heart attack or stroke, heart rhythm problems, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, and bone thinning from the use of rejection medications, increased risk for infections due to anti-rejection medications, rejection of the heart, severe coronary artery disease and wound infections.