New York City’s Montefiore Einstein Center for Heart & Vascular Care has received interim approval from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) to launch its new lung transplant program.
Lung transplant is often the final option for certain lung diseases such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis. It can improve quality of life and prolong life expectancy. Doctors perform an extensive evaluation to determine if a patient qualifies for a transplant, and all donor lungs are carefully tested beforehand. Yet the pool of willing donors is short, meaning only a few patients will actually receive a new lung.
In New York State, nearly 18,000 people have been taken off the lung transplant waiting list since 1995. Patients were either too sick to receive a transplant or died while waiting for one.
The new lung program will be led by Dr. Scott Scheinin and Dr. Harish Seethamraju, who have a combined 50 years of experience inf advanced, end-stage lung conditions and transplantation.
“In New York State, so many donor lungs are going unused because of limited resources and experience,” Dr. Robert Michler, co-director of the Montefiore Einstein Center for Heart and Vascular Care, said in a press release. “With our new world-class team we will be able to save the lives of thousands of people with chronic lung and heart diseases.”
This program is the only one in New York offering bloodless lung transplants and heart-lung transplants. Bloodless lung transplant, a specialized surgical option, can reduce recovery time as well as the post-surgery risk of heart attack and stroke. It also offers new options to patients whose religious beliefs did not allow them to consider these procedures previously.
“Now patients of all faiths and cultural backgrounds have access to advanced pulmonary failure and lung transplant treatments,” said Seethamraju. “By combining cutting-edge treatments with a highly skilled transplant team, we are changing the way end-stage pulmonary patients are cared for in our area.”
With this addition, Montefiore can now perform all five main types of organ transplant: lung, heart, kidney, liver and pancreas. The new lung transplant program will be made available to both adults and children. For more information, please call (718) 920-LUNG (5864).