IU Health’s Long History in Heart & Lung Health

First in Heart Health

At IU Health, our heart and vascular care is backed by years of experience and a long list of firsts, including:

  • 1982  First heart transplant in Indiana
  • 1985  First VAD implantation in Indiana
  • 1987  First Total Artificial Heart in Indiana (TAH)
  • 1989  First lung transplant in Indiana
  • 1989  First heart-lung transplant in Indiana
  • 2003 First patient in Indiana to be discharged home with a VAD
  • 2006 First lung-pancreas transplant in the world

Such cutting edge therapies are a reflection of our long history of innovations, and it doesn’t stop there. In 2012, IU Health performed 50 lung transplants and was ranked 15th in the nation for the volume based on the most current rankings of 2011. As the sole lung transplant program in the state of Indiana, IU Health’s thoracic (heart and lung) transplant program recognizes the importance of participating in the latest research and technology. 

Exploring New Techniques

As part of this translational research, experts at IU Health Methodist recently performed our first research ex-vivo lung perfusion procedure. This research is critical to the need for expanding the number of suitable lungs available for patients awaiting lung transplantation.  Nationally, only 15% of solid organ donors are suitable lung donors.  Of the remaining 85%, a significant number are potentially salvageable utilizing this technology.

This exciting technology allows for further evaluation and therapeutic maneuvers that are otherwise unable to be performed on these potentially salvageable lungs due to time constraints associated with the procurement process.  These lungs are procured and transported in an iced state.  The ex-vivo technology allows these lungs to be warmed to body temperature, perfused utilizing a specialized solution, and ventilated outside of a human body.  This allows up to 6 hours of additional time to determine whether or not these lungs are suitable for transplantation.This will potentially translate into treating a larger number of Indiana residents with lung disease.

Additionally, IU Health Methodist Hospital provides the first adult and only adult and pediatric Extracorporeal Life Support Organization (ELSO) accredited Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) programs in Indiana.    IU Health thoracic transplant is the only comprehensive program which provides lung transplants, adult and pediatric heart transplants and mechanical circulatory support.

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