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UPMC Completed Successful Double Hand Transplant


Jeff Kepner, 57, lost both hands and feet to sepsis ten years ago. In a surgery which took more than 15 hours, UPMC surgeons have successfully completed a double hand transplant for him. This is the first to be done in the United States.

Kepner, his wife, and daughter live in Augusta, Ga.. He is reported to be recovering well today. Friends and family have kept a prayer chain going, but are delighted at the progress.

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Those prayers will still be needed as Kepner is a transplant patient. His recovery is far from over. He will need to heal from surgery. There will be many hours of physical therapy to learn how to use the hands. He will need to be on anti-rejection medications for life. UPMC tries to decrease the need for these medications by giving their patients a bone marrow infusion from the donor of the hands. Kepner will receive this infusion in a week if his recovery goes well.

Kepner joins six other hand transplant patients in the U.S. The others have been single hand transplants. Five were done at Louisville Jewish Hospital in Kentucky and one at UPMC. He joins eight others worldwide who have received double transplants.

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