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Hospital receives approval of lung transplant program

Patients now can be placed on waiting list

Spectrum Health’s application to perform lung transplants has been approved by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). A letter of approval was received last week and patients can now be placed on Spectrum Health’s waiting list.

UNOS is a private non-profit organization that manages the U.S. organ transplant system. Certification by UNOS signifies an organization meets all institutional and personnel qualifications required to perform lung transplants.

“This is a significant milestone for our patients and for us,” said Reda Girgis, MD, medical director of Spectrum Health’s lung transplant program and a member of Spectrum Health Medical Group. “We can now place West Michigan patients on our waiting list and they’ll be able to receive this gift of life closer to home.”

Girgis is hopeful that the first transplant can take place between now and February. “The timing of our first transplant is not fully within our control, of course, but we are ready.”

Girgis heads a multidisciplinary team that includes specialists in transplant infectious diseases, pathology, radiology, and immunology plus nurse coordinators, a transplant pharmacist, social worker, psychologist, nutritionist, physical therapists, respiratory therapists and others. Each potential recipient is carefully evaluated to ensure the greatest likelihood for a successful outcome.

Working closely with Girgis is the cardiothoracic surgical team headed by heart and lung transplant surgeon Ashgar Khaghani, MD.

Lung transplantation continues to grow in the U.S. and worldwide. In 2011, more than 1,800 procedures were performed in the U.S. Currently, more than 1,600 candidates are on the waiting list.

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