CHAMPCAR/CART: Walter Payton Faces Liver Transplant

Champ Car Owner Walter Payton Faces Challenge of a Lifetime (February 2, 1999) - NFL Hall of Famer Walter Payton is facing one of the biggest challenges of his lifetime. Payton, who along with Dale Coyne owns the Payton-Coyne Racing Champ ...

Champ Car Owner Walter Payton Faces Challenge of a Lifetime

(February 2, 1999) - NFL Hall of Famer Walter Payton is facing one of the biggest challenges of his lifetime.

Payton, who along with Dale Coyne owns the Payton-Coyne Racing Champ Car team, is fighting a rare liver disease called Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC. The disease causes obstruction of the bile flow and damages liver cells. The course of the disease ultimately leads to liver failure.

"The cause of the disease is unknown," said Dr. Joseph A. Lagatutta, one of Payton's physicians. "There is no evidence that PSC is in any way related to hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver, consumption of alcohol or the use of anabolic steroids or vitamin over-usage."

Payton, whose Champ Car team runs cars for Michel Jourdain Jr and Dennis Vitolo in the 20-race FedEx Championship Series, was treated at the Mayo Clinic in both December and January. Once the disease was diagnosed, a stent was placed in the bile duct to reliever the bile obstruction. Payton's name is being placed on the liver transplant list and he will be evaluated for transplantation during the next few weeks.

"Prognosis for liver transplantation for PSC is good," said Lagattutta. "A one year survival rate is approximately 88 percent with a long-term survival very promising. We have every hope that Walter will receive a transplant and, after the operation, return to a normal, active life."

This story provided by Walter Payton Inc.

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Series IndyCar
Drivers Dale Coyne , Michel Jourdain