Spectrum Health receives national approval to perform lung transplants
Caroline MacGregor December 3, 2012 | WGVU
organization performing organ transplants in this country must meet strict institutional
and personnel qualifications. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS)
is a private, non-profit organization contracted by the federal government to manage
the nation's organ transplant system. They match
donors to recipients and
maintain a database of information about every organ transplant event that
occurs in the U.S.
In June, Spectrum
Health submitted an application to UNOS for approval to perform lung
transplants. Dr Reda Girgis, medical director of Spectrum’s lung transplant
program says along with documentation proving adequate facilities, nursing
care, and support services; the surgeons themselves are closely scrutinized.
“You have to demonstrate professional expertise so there has to be a medical director and a surgical director and there's criteria for them in terms of their previous experience with lung transplants,the surgeon needs to have done so many previous lung transplants, the pulmonologist has to have demonstrated they've looked after a certain number of transplant patients.”
who heads a multi-disciplinary team of specialists, says the three most common
reasons for a lung transplant include
idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis or IPF: a disease affecting people in the 50-70
age range which progressively scars the lungs, possibly
The second leading diagnosis is COPD or emphysema, mostly attributable to cigarette smoking. However,
indoor air exposure is believed to lead to the disease, particularly in women and
children. Dr. Girgis says the third most common reason for a lung transplant is
Cistic Fibrosis which starts in
“The management for that disease has advanced so much in the last 20 years, with antibiotics and other new therapies- these patients are typically living into their 40’s.”
in the US, more than 16-hundred people are on the waiting list for a lung
transplant. Spectrum expects to perform its first lung transplant between now
and February. The procedure is performed by only two other hospitals in
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