Lutheran Hospital to end heart-transplant program, at least for now

Effective April 1, Lutheran Hospital will inactivate its heart transplant program, according to Public Relations Supervisor Geoff Thomas.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) require programs to have a dedicated cardiologist with specific training, experience and certification for heart transplant programs. Next month, the transplant cardiologist for Lutheran Hospital’s heart transplant program is moving out-of-state. Lutheran Hospital had recruited a replacement for her role but those plans fell through, leaving the program without an advanced heart failure cardiologist to care for and monitor patients.

“We understand this creates uncertainty for patients in our heart transplant program. Our team has spoken with the four patients on Lutheran Hospital’s transplant waiting list, and we are assisting them and our post-transplant patients in transferring their care to the St. Vincent heart transplant program in Indianapolis or another program of the patient’s choice,” Thomas said in a statement. “We are committed to supporting them throughout this process to ensure a smooth transition.”