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Lutheran abandons cardiac transplant program

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The search for a new cardiologist began after the Lutheran Hospital announced it would no longer have a cardiac transplant program in April.

A spokesman for the Lutheran Health Network confirmed to WANE 15 News that the program would be disabled as of April 1, after a doctor planned to leave the territory.

Public Relations Supervisor Geoff Thomas made a statement in the newsroom.

"The Lutheran hospital is disabling its cardiac transplant program. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Unified Organ Sharing Network (UNOS) require programs to have a specialized cardiologist with specific training, experience and certification for cardiac transplant programs . A month later, the heart transplant program of the cardiologist responsible for transplants of the Lutheran hospital had been replaced, but these plans had failed, leaving the program without cardiologist specialized in heart failure to take charge and monitor patients.

We understand that this creates uncertainty for patients in our heart transplant program. Our team spoke with the four patients on the waiting list for transplants at the Lutheran Hospital. We are helping them, and our post-transplant patients, transfer their care to the St. Vincent Indianapolis Heart Transplant Program or another program chosen by the patient. We are committed to supporting them throughout this process to ensure a smooth transition.

Lutheran takes this opportunity to reevaluate its emergency surgical coverage, particularly for the Ventricular Assist Device program. The status of this program remains active at the present time. "

WANE 15 News has confirmed that the health network is employing to staff the cardiologist specializing in heart failure.

The first heart transplant at Luther took place in 1985, in the former location of the hospital, Fairfield Avenue. 34 years later, more than 300 heart transplants have been performed.

In 2015, WANE 15 News published a series of special features on the 30th anniversary of the Heart Transplant Program. Click here to view the history of the department: https://www.wane.com/community/health/heart-to-heart-30-years-of-transplants_20180323052706418/1071577657

Change at Lutheran Hospital follows announcement of new downtown hospital to replace St. Joseph's Hospital in December following loss of audit of burn unit and disagreement with group specialists in gastrointestinal medicine who led him to temporarily leave the hospital.

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