The Heart Transplant Program at Lutheran Hospital is fully activated under new surgical director Hannah Copeland, MD, FACC, FACS. The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) Board of Directors recently approved the program for reactivation based on the recommendation from the OPTN Membership and Professional Standards Committee, according to Kara Stevenson, marketing and community relations manager.
Dr. Copeland, who completed a transplant fellowship at Indiana University and most recently was a member of the cardiac surgery team at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, joined Lutheran Health Physicians in May. She works in tandem with Asim Mohammed, MD, advanced heart failure and transplant cardiologist, and medical director of the Heart Transplant and Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) programs, and Alan Peterson, MD, FACS, a cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon. Dr. Peterson was a member of the team who performed the region’s first heart transplant in 1985.
Heart transplants are reserved for patients with documented, isolated heart disease who are no longer able to function day-to-day, as well as those with life-threatening cardiac rhythm disturbances.
According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in Indiana, making early detection and ongoing management crucial.
As an accredited tertiary care facility, Lutheran Hospital provides a full compendium of cardiovascular services to the people of northern Indiana and beyond. The hospital’s recent certification for transcatheter valve repair and replacement (TAVR) is the first in the state and one of the first 10 awarded by the American College of Cardiology (ACC). In October 2019, the ACC awarded Lutheran Hospital its most important designation for the second year in a row – the ACC HeartCARE Center National Distinction of Excellence, recognizing a commitment to quality cardiovascular care through ongoing performance measurement.
Patient care and support are coordinated by a multidisciplinary team, from pre-transplant evaluation through post-transplant care. Team members include the advanced heart failure and transplant cardiologist, cardiovascular surgeon, transplant coordinator, social worker, pharmacist, dietitian and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation therapist.
Transplantation is necessary only when the heart muscle is severely diseased since problems with heart valves and coronary arteries can usually be treated by other means.