January 15, 2007
The UVa Medical Center is at the top of a new national report ranking hospitals on the highest survival rate of lung transplants.
From 2003 to 2005 the UVa team performed 52 lung transplants and of those, had a 98 percent survival rate.
"A lot of it has to do with the wonderful team work that we have in our program" said Dr. David Jones.
Jones says the team includes surgeons, nurses, residents, occupational therapists, and psychologists, all working to help the patient survive a lung transplant. But he credits the success rate of survival to UVa research on medicine used after the operation.
"We typically used one medication right after the patient receives their lung transplant and we have changed that medication to a less toxic one," said Jones.
He says the less toxic medication fights the rejection of a new lung in a new body without making the patient extremely sick.
Although the hospital has averaged in the study one lung transplant every two weeks, Dr. Jones said they would like to do more but need more donors in order to increase the number of transplants.
"That is something that we have been very aggressive in, seeking out donors, even what are considered to be marginal donors that often times other groups will not entertain using those lungs" said Jones.
He said he is hopeful with the new number one ranking UVa will see more referals.
Dr. Jones says one thing that sets UVa aside is that they transplant organs to people who are older. Their age cut off is 70, where as, other hospitals will cut off patients who are in their 60's.
Coming behind UVa in that study was the University of Wisconsin, and Duke University Medical Center.