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Double transplant for Pa. governor

Gov. Robert Casey will undergo a heart-liver transplant in hopes of curing a hereditary disease, doctors said Sunday.

The 61-year-old governor underwent two days of tests during the weekend to determine whether his heart was strong enough to withstand a liver transplant. Doctors concluded that it was not.

Casey and his family agreed to the double transplant, he said in a statement read at a news conference. Doctors said he would remain hospitalized and could undergo the operation within four to six weeks.

"The essential testing has been completed and my doctors have informed me that my cardiac condition is much worse than I would have expected," Casey said in the statement.

He said Lt. Gov. Mark Singel would take over his duties during his surgery and recovery. The governor, who has 1{ years remaining on his term, said he would continue to fulfill his duties from the hospital room until his operation.

The tests showed that the heart's function was "dramatically abnormal," said Dr. William Follansbee, director of the Heart Institute at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Casey was diagnosed two years ago with a hereditary disease, amyloidosis. It has caused his liver to produce an abnormal protein that has built up in the walls of his heart.

The governor suffered a heart attack in 1987 and underwent a quadruple bypass.