Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ohio State University Hospitals Closes Lung Transplant Program

This post suggests that patients seeking a lung or other organ transplant should verify the number of transplants a center performs each year and how many are on the waiting list. As far as lung transplants go, Toronto General Hospital, where I had my lung transplant, is one of the world's leading transplant centers with 50 lung transplants already performed this year and 54 patients are on the waiting list at present.

From the Surgery Blog by Jennifer Heisler, RN
Surgery and Transplant News: The Ohio State University Hospitals Closes Lung Transplant Program and What Transplant Patients Need To Know About Transplant Centers

The Ohio State University lung transplant program made an important announcement this month. The program will be closing its doors on July 1st. While the decision was made voluntarily, the low number of lung transplants being performed might have eventually caused regulators to close the program had it not been done by the hospital.

So, what does this mean for you? If you are a patient waiting for an organ transplant, there are important questions you need to ask the transplant center. Otherwise, you may find yourself waiting for a transplant that performs very few surgeries. For example, the Ohio State program did one lung transplant last year and two this year. At that rate, the 15 people waiting at Ohio State could have waited 8 years or longer for a transplant. Contrast that with the Cleveland Clinic which, on average, performs a lung transplant every three days. Certainly, there are more people on the waiting list at the Cleveland Clinic, but the odds of getting a transplant more quickly are much higher.

So, back to those question you should be asking, regardless of what organ you are waiting for.

1) How many people are on your waiting list?

2) How many transplants do you perform a year? What is your average for the last 5 years?

What is your one year survival rate? (It doesn't matter how many they perform if people aren't surviving the surgery!) and finally

Should I consider being listed at multiple centers? That last question may be one you have to answer for yourself, after weighing the costs and benefits, but your transplant center should be able to help provide you with essential information you need to make your decision.


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