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Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute at Memorial Regional Hospital made history this week by performing the first ever, adult heart transplant in Broward County. The hospital received UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) approval to launch the adult heart transplant program earlier this year, becoming one of only two programs in South Florida.
The skilled cardiac transplant team is led by Dr. Enrique Gongora, Medical Director of the Adult Heart Transplant and Mechanical Circulatory Support Program at the Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute and Dr. Ioana Dumitru, Medical Director of Adult Cardiac Transplant, Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathy. Both work with a high-caliber team of dedicated nurses, intensivists, perfusionists, and laboratory medicine experts, who were all on cue for the life-saving transplant.
“We are very excited for our first heart transplant patient,” said Dr. Dumitru, a board-certified heart failure and transplant cardiologist. “The 51-year-old patient who received the life-saving transplant had end-stage heart failure due to dilated cardiomyopathy. We had been following her since this spring.”
The team is preparing for the next adult heart transplants, given they currently have another five patients waiting for this miraculous gift of life.
“Performing our first adult heart transplant is an achievement that reflects the steadfast commitment of the Memorial Healthcare System to provide this community with world class cardiovascular care,” said Dr. Gongora, a board certified cardiac surgeon. “South Florida has historically been underserved for advanced heart failure care. Having a heart failure program, that is able to provide advanced heart failure care including heart transplantation and ventricular assist devices, is imperative to serve the growing number of patients suffering with advanced heart failure.”
The adult cardiac transplant team is part of the Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute’s TotalHeart care program. In August, Memorial Regional Hospital earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for its ventricular assist device (VAD) destination therapy program. Destination therapy VADs are implanted in patients with refractory heart failure who are not eligible for a heart transplant. VADs have been proven to dramatically improve the long term survival and the quality of life of end stage heart failure patients.
The expert cardiac care at Memorial Healthcare System extends beyond Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood and covers the spectrum from pediatric to adult cardiac services. For example, the pediatric cardiac transplant team at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital Heart Institute – led by Dr. Frank Scholl, Chief, Pediatric Congenital Heart Surgery and Surgical Director, Pediatric Heart Transplant and Dr. Maryanne Chrisant, Medical Director of Pediatric Heart Transplant Cardiomyopathy and Heart Failure Services – has successfully performed 17 pediatric heart transplants since 2010. Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital has the only active pediatric heart transplant and mechanical circulatory support program in South Florida. In addition, cardiac experts at Memorial Hospital West in Pembroke Pines perform diagnostic and therapeutic catheterization and emergency and elective angioplasties.
With the outstanding resources of the programs dedicated to cardiac care at Memorial Regional Hospital, Memorial Hospital West and Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Memorial Healthcare System is poised to offer the community TotalHeart care from the youngest pediatric patients to adults, and throughout South Broward County and beyond.
Broward County’s first heart transplant patient
Heart in transit