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WFPL: Louisville Jewish Hospital's Heart Transplant Hiatus

89.3 WFPL radio news in Louisville, Kentucky, recently covered a story about a local medical center, Jewish Hospital, that announced it was suspending its heart transplant program. The implications for patients in the Louisville community and state of Kentucky are far reaching, as Michelle Kittleson, MD, PhD, a cardiologist at Cedars-Sinai's Smidt Heart Institute explains in the article.

Jewish Hospital had the only heart transplant program in Louisville, although it was relatively small – having performed 10 transplants last year. At its closing, 32 patients were on the medical center's heart transplant waiting list.

Those patients now will have to transfer to other transploant centers, which might include the University of Kentucky, Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, the University of Cincinnati – or, even to out of state to top-rated centers like Cedars-Sinai. Since 2010, Cedars-Sinai heart surgeons have performed more adult heart transplants than surgeons at any other medical center.  

As Kittleson explained, any patients on a heart transplant list are required to live within a certain distance from their hospital for a number of months before and after surgery. At Cedars-Sinai, which was just ranked third in the nation for cardiology and heart surgery by U.S. News & World Report, patients are required to live within a 70-mile radius for two to three months after transplant.

“What that can turn into is patients having to fundraise on their own for the finances to relocate,” Kittleson said to the radio station. “Within Kentucky, there will be implications for the patients in how they’re going to manage the logistics.”

Click here to read the complete story from 89.3 WFPL.

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: 2 Heart Transplants Can’t Keep Joelle Down