"I am a mother of three kids and they were very young children when this happened," Kristine says. "I had my last child and was a very healthy person—no smoking or drinking. I was a busy mother but I started feeling ill. My father underwent a heart transplant in 1987, so there is a history of genetic conditions. I had a heart murmur but was told it was nothing to be concerned about.
"When my son was four months old, I started feel sick. I was diagnosed in August 1997 that I needed a heart transplant. I was told I had idiopathic cardiomyopathy. In December of that year I was admitted to the hospital with pneumonia and congestive heart failure. A defibrillator was implanted and I was sent home for a short time. However, I became very ill and was hospitalized in February. I was put on the transplant list and had an artificial heart device implanted in April 1998. I had open heart surgery to have the device placed. The surgery was extremely hard on me—I was constantly sick after it was put in. Shortly after—I don't remember the time frame but it seemed like a couple of days—they told me I had kidney failure. I was put on dialysis to 'wake up my kidneys' as they put it until I could have a heart transplant.
"Finally, I had the transplant on May 21, 1998 and was out of the hospital June 7. They stopped dialysis around two weeks before my actual transplant and I did not hear another word about my kidneys being bad. Doctors just said they were watching my kidneys.
"At home, I had numerous health issues. Doctors did blood work continuously and I was told that my kidney numbers were off but it was nothing serious. I was told that for about the first five years after the transplant. After a while, my blood pressure jacked right up. I had migraine headaches because my blood pressure was so high. But they did not make the connection with my kidney problems. Finally, in October 2006, I was very ill from the headaches and my blood pressure was 180/110. Then they said, 'Oh, you must have some kind of kidney failure going on.' They started paying attention to my kidneys.
"I have also had several urinary tract infections over the past 10 years, and I was told that could be related to the kidney failure as well. I saw the kidney doctor today and I will need a transplant because of the chronic kidney failure. The deterioration is very slow, but I had never had a problem with my kidneys prior to that surgery. I'm slowly getting worse but they know where it's heading—that I will eventually need a transplant.
"My blood pressure has been really hard to manage because of the kidney failure. I watch what I eat and don't make any major changes, but then I will feel really sick for a week or two and it's back to the doctor. There's definitely something going on, but it's not a real fast deterioration, which is a good thing.
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"With this possibly being related to the drug, I hope they find out that information soon. I would like to know if that is the cause of it all. I had a hard time in the hospital—my heart failed several times and I was very sick. This has been hard on my body."
Trasylol has been linked to a risk of kidney failure in patients who received the drug during open heart surgery. Patients are now investigating the possibility of a lawsuit against the maker of the drug, alleging that Bayer knew about the risks associated with Trasylol, but failed to make those risks known to the pubic.