Monday, April 23, 2012

KU Hospital to launch new Heart Transplant program

With a generous philanthropic gift in hand, The University of Kansas Hospital announced it will establish a heart transplant program.

“In order to provide the full range of care to patients who have chosen our heart program, we need to add heart transplants,” said Bob Page, president and chief executive officer of The University of Kansas Hospital.  “Last year alone, 44 of our patients had to be sent to other programs because of the lack of a heart transplant program.”

Page said the hospital had evaluated a heart transplant program on an ongoing basis since the revitalization of the heart program in 2001. 

Since that time, the program has grown in volume and in national recognition as the only heart program in the region to make the U.S. News & World Report “Best Hospital” lists for heart and heart surgery as well as the Thomson-Reuters list of the “Top 50 Heart Hospitals.” 

After extensive analysis, the Hospital Authority Board approved going forward with heart transplants last year.

“This is an exciting day for The University of Kansas Hospital, for healthcare consumers throughout the Midwest and for our regional business community,” said Greg Graves, Chairman and CEO of Burns & McDonnell, Hospital Authority Board Member and civic leader. “The hospital has long been a great healthcare institution and now with the Center for Advanced Heart Care, it is taking another giant step forward.”

Page said the hospital is announcing a $1.5 million donation to establish the transplant program from William Reed, MD, chair of the hospital’s Department of Cardiovascular Diseases, and his wife Mary Reed.

“Dr. Bill Reed has been an icon for his leadership of heart programs and his commitment to patient care, both locally and across the nation.  Once again, he has stepped forward at a critical juncture in the history of our heart program to move us forward,” said Page.

Reed said he and his wife are dedicating their gift to all the families who had donated the hearts of their loved ones to give life to others.

Reed added, “It has been an honor to see this program become one of the best in the country since we came here 11 years ago.  I think we are more than ready to develop a heart transplant program, and I know it will be done with the same commitment to quality care that has been the hallmark of the program at The University of Kansas Hospital.”

Reed noted the current heart surgery program completes more than 600 surgeries a year.  He also said the heart transplant program will strengthen the cardiovascular surgery and cardiology residency programs on campus and will support the leading edge heart research underway at the Medical Center’s Cardiovascular Research Institute.

Page said the underlying motivation to pursue the program was simply the ability to offer entire continuum of care to all heart patients.

Congestive heart failure patients are the most likely patients eventually to need a heart transplant.  Page said the hospital already treats 4,200 congestive heart failure patients.  He adds there are approximately 60,000 adults in Kansas with congestive heart failure. 

Congestive heart failure will be the focus on the new 7th floor of the Center for Advanced Heart Care, opening this summer; and a clinic dedicated to outpatient follow-up care.

Transplant cardiologist Randy Genton, MD, said he and Dr. Charles Porter have had extensive experience in working with congestive heart failure patients as well as pre- and post-heart transplant patients. 

Dr. Genton noted they currently care for many patients who have had heart transplants at other facilities.

“We see the heart transplant program as a natural extension of our commitment to the end-stage heart failure patient.   There is no timetable to begin the heart transplant program here because there are a number of necessary steps to go through, including approval from the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).  Each of these steps will be undertaken with a commitment to quality patient care,” said Dr. Genton.