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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 20, 2007

Mountaineer to speak at Young Hearts Conference

A mountain climber who has overcome heart problems to scale some of the world's highest peaks will be the featured speaker at the fourth annual Young Hearts with ICDs (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators) Conference, at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, in the Hotel Vetro Conference Room in Iowa City.

In 1992, Kelly Perkins and her husband, Craig, celebrated their five-year wedding anniversary by hiking the Swiss Alps. Just one month after returning from Europe, Kelly Perkins noticed some unusual symptoms, including a racing heartbeat. In September 1992 she was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, or heart failure. She apparently caught a virus that infected her heart. In 1995 Perkins received an implantable cardioverter defibrillator and subsequently underwent heart transplantation.

Renewed with life, Perkins became the first heart transplant recipient to reach the peak of some of the planet's most famous mountains, including one of the "Seven Summits," Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa. In 2003, Craig and Kelly returned to the Swiss Alps and conquered the Matterhorn.

The Young Hearts conference is a patient-advocate group offering support and information related to the heart conditions and medical devices that affect the lives of young people age 35 and younger. After the keynote speech, Kelly Perkins will meet with heart transplant patients. There also will be breakout sessions for patients, parents and other family members dealing with the psychosocial aspects of living with a life-threatening disease and implantation of an ICD.

For more information or to register for the conference, call 319-356-3537.

University of Iowa Children's Hospital serves children and their families at its main campus in Iowa City and satellite clinics in communities throughout Iowa. A 180-bed "hospital within a hospital," UI Children's Hospital benefits from the sophisticated services and comprehensive resources of UI Hospitals and Clinics. Child magazine ranks UI Children's Hospital among the top 20 children's hospitals in the nation.

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Health Care, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room E110 GH, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Moore, UI Health Care, 319-356-3945,