The Montefiore Einstein Center for Heart & Vascular Care has started a lung transplant program, joining an exclusive group of premier surgical programs in New York.
Surgeons at the center will focus on people with conditions like pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis, emphysema and rheumatic diseases.
The United Network for Organ Sharing’s interim approval of the program was the key to it being able to start. The sign-off has already led to the center performing its first two lung transplants.
The program is the only one in New York offering bloodless lung transplants and heart-lung transplants. Both of the complex procedures require highly skilled professionals and top resources.
Bloodless lung transplants can shorten recovery time and reduce a patient’s risk of heart attack and stroke after surgery. They are also an option for people whose religions forbid traditional transplants.
“This is an enormous step for Montefiore and for the growing region we serve,” Dr. Robert E. Michler, chairman of cardiothoracic and vascular surgery at Montefiore Health System, said in a press release. “In New York State so many donor lungs are going unused because of limited resources and experience. With our new world-class team we will be able to save the lives of thousands of people with chronic lung and heart diseases.”
The Montefiore Health System is the Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s healthcare system. Its 11 hospitals and 200 clinics provide care to about three million people in communities across the Bronx, Westchester and the Hudson Valley.
Drs. Scott Scheinin and Harish Seethamraju are leading the transplant program. They have a combined 50 years of experience in advanced pulmonary care and transplants.
“We’re grateful to be able to expand lung transplant services locally by better utilizing donor organs in our area,” Scheinin said. “With our new program, we’re able to improve the lives of so many more people.”
“Now patients of all faiths and cultural backgrounds have access to advanced pulmonary-failure and lung transplant treatments,” Seethamraju said. “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.”
Montefiore has New York City’s best one- and three-year heart transplant patient survival rates. The lung transplant program means patients can receive all five leading types of transplants at the center: liver, kidney, heart, pancreas, and lung. The program is available for both adults and children.
About 18,000 people have been removed from New York State’s lung transplant waiting list since 1995 because they died while awaiting the surgery or were too sick to receive a transplant.
An appointment for a Montefiore Einstein Center transplant can be made by calling 718-920-LUNG (5864) or by going to MyChart, Montefiore’s online health management system.