Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers owner put on list for heart transplant

CHARLOTTE -- Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was placed on the heart transplant list this week, after extensive testing revealed he needed a new heart.

The 72-year-old Richardson, who had a pacemaker/defibrillator installed last month, was readmitted to Carolinas Medical Center last week after continuing to feel poorly. He underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 2002.

There's no timetable for the organ donor process, and though transplant candidates can wait at home, Richardson is still at CMC.

Considered a last-resort treatment for patients with heart failure who have tried all other treatments, the heart transplant is the third-most common organ transplant surgery in the U.S., according to the National Institutes of Health.

The NIH Web site estimates 3,000 people are on the transplant waiting list on any particular day. Nearly 2,200 heart transplants are performed per year.

According to the American Heart Association's Web site, the one-year survival rate was 87.4 percent for males, and the five-year survivor rate was 72.3 percent.

That Richardson is a candidate for the surgery indicates that otherwise, his overall health is good. Team officials have said he has continued to make phone calls and work as much as he can from the hospital.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday he had spent an hour with Richardson at the hospital and indicated he was in good spirits.

One of the most influential owners in the league, Richardson was one of Goodell's hand-picked point men for the looming collective bargaining negotiations.

Asked if he thought Richardson's health would allow him to continue in that role, Goodell smiled and said, "He's certainly intent on doing it. I wouldn't doubt Jerry Richardson. Yes, I think he will."

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