Friday, January 16, 2009

Record Number of Heart Transplants in 2008

Twenty-eight patients received lifesaving heart transplants at the MGH Heart Center in 2008. The total set a record for the program, which also completed more heart transplants than any other center in New England last year. “Mass General has demonstrated a commitment to excellence in heart transplantation,” says Joren Madsen, MD, DPhil, director of the MGH Transplant Center and section chief of Cardiac Surgery. “The directors of the Heart Transplant Program have been making improvements to the program continuously, and this year we have seen the impact of their work.”

The 28 heart transplants represented a 70 percent increase over the number completed in 2007. In addition, the MGH also decreased patients’ time-to-transplant wait after being placed on the organ list. Patients averaged just 15 days on the waiting list, and their length-of-stay in the hospital also averaged 15 days.

The MGH has employed “a smart, aggressive approach to evaluate donors based on thorough monitoring,” says Madsen. “Our goal is to maximize the potential of every donor heart without affecting the outcomes of our patients,” says Bruce Rosengard, MD, FRCS, surgical director for the Cardiac Transplantation Program. “We have shown that we can rapidly transplant listed patients. It is simple: the more patients we list, the more patients we will transplant.”

Heart failure is a growing epidemic in the United States, with approximately 550,000 new cases diagnosed each year. To meet the need, the heart failure program at the MGH has improved patient access to specialty care and expanded its outreach to patients and physicians throughout New England, according to Marc Semigran, MD, director of the Cardiac Transplant/Heart Failure Program.

“We have launched a new technologies and offer heart failure patients access to advanced diagnostics and cutting-edge therapies under development at the MGH in conjunction with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s Heart Failure Network,” says Semigran. Semigran and Rosengard both expect the program to grow, and they are working with Heart Center leadership to build the inpatient infrastructure necessary to support the continued growth.

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