Northwestern Memorial's Heart Transplant Program No. 1 In Illinois and Among Highest-Rated Nationally
Hospital’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute achieves milestone outcomes for heart transplant
Newly released data from the United Network of Organ Sharing (UNOS) shows that in 2008 Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s heart transplant program achieved the largest volumes and top-rated outcomes in Illinois—a ranking that places the program among the top 20 heart transplant programs nationally.
“We are very proud of the collaborations and diligent focus of our multi-disciplinary transplant team,” said Patrick McCarthy, MD, the hospital’s chief of cardiothoracic surgery, who is director of its Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and a Heller-Sacks professor of surgery at the Feinberg School of Medicine of Northwestern University. “It’s the collective expertise of Northwestern Memorial’s established transplant program that helps the heart transplant team thrive. Because we are able to leverage an established infrastructure and system for organ transplantation, our expert heart surgeons and cardiologists are positioned to be equally successful.”
Many patients transfer to the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute from outside institutions for heart transplantation surgery. “The partnership that we have forged with outstanding community programs has been largely responsible for our growth,” commented Edwin McGee, MD, cardiac surgeon and the surgical director of Heart Transplantation and Mechanical Assistance at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute. “We recognize the integral role that case managers and medical directors from outside institutions play in coordinating a safe and seamless transfer of care for their patients to our center.”
Northwestern Memorial’s Center for Heart Failure has a 97 percent one year survival rate for heart transplantation. This ranks among the highest in the state of Illinois and the surrounding region.
Heart transplantation is an option for patients who are experiencing end-stage heart failure that can no longer be controlled by medications and other therapies. Each year only about 2,000 donor hearts become available which means that transplantation is not an option for a majority of patients. Experts at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute are committed to finding alternative life-extending therapies for patients, and many patients awaiting a transplant may benefit from heart assist devices. These devices help the heart to pump blood to the body’s organs and serve as bridge to transplantation while significantly improving the patient’s quality of life.
During the past three years there has been a steady increase in the volume of assist devices that are implanted at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, which is a trend that is being seen nationally as well. The Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offers the latest clinical trials for devices and drugs that help to ensure that patients receive the best possible care for heart failure and heart transplantation.