UK Performs Kentucky’s First Combined Heart-Lung Transplant in 15 Years

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2012) — The University of Kentucky announced today that UK surgeons performed the first combined heart-lung transplant in Kentucky in 15 years. Dawn Nelson, 29, of Louisville, Ky., received two lungs and a heart from the same donor in one procedure at UK on July 7.

 

Combined heart-lung transplants are rare — only 27 were performed nationwide in 2011. They are generally performed on younger patients who have a fatal disease and cannot be treated with medication or other interventions.

 

Nelson was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus at age 17 and rheumatoid arthritis at age 22. But four years ago, she also developed pulmonary hypertension, a deadly disease that attacks the blood vessels in the lungs and is fatal without timely treatment.

 

In Nelson's case, the disease destroyed her lungs, and her heart began to fail when it could no longer push blood into the lungs.  

 

Dr. Wesley McConnell, a transplant pulmonologist with Kentuckiana Pulmonary Associates in Louisville began caring for Dawn two and a half years ago at their Pulmonary Hypertension Center. After her disease failed to respond to drug therapies, Dr. McConnell referred Dawn to UK on May 11 for an inpatient transplant evaluation. 

 

"Dawn was extremely ill and it became clear that her only chance for survival would be a heart-lung transplant," McConnell said. "I knew that UK was her best option because they had the most experienced team in the state."

 

Nelson received her new lungs and heart on July 7. Dr. Charles Hoopes, director of the UK Transplant Center, performed the surgery, only the 7th such procedure to be performed at UK since it began transplantation in 1964. The last time UK performed this surgery was 1996.

 

"Although the surgery itself is relatively simple, combined heart-lung transplants are rare because they require three donor organs and are reserved for patients who are extremely ill with heart and lung failure," said Dr. Jay Zwischenberger, chair of the UK Department of Surgery. "They also require a great deal of infrastructure and support to perform successfully. At UK, we have that team in place, and moving forward we expect to perform one or two of these combined transplants per year."

 

More than four months after her surgery, Nelson continues to improve and grow stronger. Dr. Enrique Diaz, medical director for lung transplantation, and Dr. Navin Rajagopalan, medical director of cardiac transplantation, both provide followup care for Nelson at UK. Additionally, she continues to see McConnell at the KPA practice in Louisville.

 

"Dawn is doing quite well.  At the time of transplant, she was so sick she only weighed about 80 pounds," Rajagopalan said. "Now, she feels well, is gaining weight, and is able to do things that she had not been able to do for years.”

 

Nelson's collaborative treatment is a prime example of the partnership between Louisville and Lexington doctors that UK is trying to cultivate, says Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs.

 

"This is an example of the success and lives changed for the better by UK HealthCare’s partnerships," said Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs. “Our goal is to continue to provide highly advanced subspecialty care such as Ms. Nelson’s complex transplant to patients like her who otherwise would either have to leave the Commonwealth or worse, not receive the treatment needed.”

 

In November 2010, UK in collaboration with Norton HealthCare opened up an outreach Transplant and Specialty Clinic at Norton Audubon Hospital to provide comprehensive pre- and post-transplant care for patients. The partnership ensures that patients like Nelson will not have to leave the state to receive complex acute care or followup treatment.

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Perry, (859) 323-2399 or allison.perry@uky.edu.

AttachmentSize
Louisville transplant patient Dawn Nelson3.37 MB
Dr. Charles Hoopes, director of the UK Transplant Center1.3 MB
Dr. Jay Zwischenberger, UK Chair of the Department of Surgery2.69 MB
Dr. Michael Karpf, UK executive vice president for health affairs2.93 MB
August
 
 
 
 
 
1
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
2
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
3
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Artful Sunday: Wrapped Art
Sun
4
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Mon
5
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Tue
6
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Get Moving - A Walking Group for Caregivers
Wed
7
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
8
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
9
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
10
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sun
11
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Mon
12
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
UK Working Moms Connection
Tue
13
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Wed
14
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Thu
15
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Fri
16
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sat
17
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Landscape/Mindscape: Selections from the Wells Fargo Collection
Sun
18
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Mon
19
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Tue
20
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Chronic Disease Self-Management Program
Wed
21
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Thu
22
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Midnight Dodgeball Tournament
CARES First Year Focus Parent Meetings
CARES First Year Focus Parent Meetings
Parent and Families Reception
Residence Hall Floor Meeting
Off-campus Freshmen Check-in
K Team Meeting: K Week Kick-off
Death By Chocolate
Fri
23
Employee Educational Assistance Award
A Parent's Guide to Life after August 23
Campus Safety Information Session
Donut Avoid The Study
Common Cents: Money Management for College Students Session 1
See Blue...See Community
Succeeding in A Large Lecture Classroom
Horses, Bluegrass, Basketball, and More: Welcome to Kentucky
Success at Any Age: College Tips for Adult Learners
Write Right: Tips for Writing Well in College
Common Cents: Money Management for College Students Session 2
How to Graduate in Four Years
Parental Involvement in Fraternity and Sorority Life
Parents Watch for Warning Signs: Suicide Prevention for College Students
Preparing to be a Pre-Professional
Presentation U!: Where YOU are the Ultimate Presentation
Religious Life at UK
Successful Off-Campus Living
The Transfer Student Cruise: Navigating your way through UK
UK Parking & Transportation 101
You Heard It Here First: Tips From A Faculty Member
New Student Induction Ceremony
Minority Student Welcome
Transfer Student Cookout
K Team Meeting: K Week Overview
Men's Soccer vs. Georgia State
Big Blue U
Campus Ruckus
Campus Ruckus
Sat
24
Employee Educational Assistance Award
LNFS Presents: Jackass 3
LNFS Presents: Godzilla
Pedalpalooza
K Team Meeting: Lunch and Campus Tour
Center for Community Outreach: Do Good, Start Here.
UK Lex-Mart
Alternative Service Breaks: See the World, Change the World
From the Real World to the Amazing Race, Don't Wipeout: Your Advisor, Advising, and You
Blackboard Basics
Student Government Association Information Session
EMPOWER: Women’s Leadership Retreat Interest Session
Student Center Spectacular
Student Center Spectacular
Sun
25
Employee Educational Assistance Award
UK FUSION
UK Parking & Transportation 101
University of Kentucky Association for Transfer Students Interest Session
Candy, Condoms, Coffee
Cleaner, Healthier, Cheaper, Faster: Why Bicycling is the Best Way to Get Around Campus (and how to do it safely)
Working on Campus
K Team Meeting: Dinner with your K Team
Meijer Mania
Mon
26
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Last Day to Drop a Course with 100% Refund
Chem at UK Cafe-N-OJ with the Student American Chemical Society
Coffee (or Coke), Cookies, & Communication!: Come see blue. at Presentation U!
Don't Blow Yourself Up: Surviving Chemistry
Fraternity Recruitment Info Session
OMG! Did I Just E-Mail That to My Professor???
Surviving Your First Year and Beyond: Strategies To Do Well in Your Classes
Sustainable UK: Exploring Environmental Programs in the College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment (CAFE)
A User Guide for Your Mathematics Class
Discover the UK Art Museum
K Team Meeting: Common Reading Experience Discussion
Common Reading Introduction for International Students
Transfer Student Meet and Greet
We Are UK
Rec 'N Roll 2014
Big Blue Bingo Night
Mic Check
Tue
27
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Fraternity Recruitment Info Session
LNFS Presents: Jurassic Park
First Day of Classes
Open House - Special Collections Research Center
King Cookout
Campus Outreach
Opening Act: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
Wed
28
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Her
LNFS Presents: Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Student Involvement Fair
OrgSync Info session
LGBTQ* Welcome Back
Dive Into Diversity!
CATalyst's Dive Into Diversity Session
Residence Hall Floor Meetings
Thu
29
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Sea of Blue
One Last Beach Bash: RSA Block Party
LNFS Presents: Team America: World Police
Pills and Pizza
K Week Event: Pills and Pizza
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Wichita State
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Francis Marion
Fri
30
Employee Educational Assistance Award
LNFS Presents: Neighbors
The Tailgate "Kick-Off"
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Butler
Kentucky Football vs. UT-Martin
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Virginia Tech
Sat
31
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Ohio
Men's Soccer vs. Belmont
Sun
 
 
 
 
 
 
Aug 28
Internship Info Session 08/28/2014

Thu, 08/28/2014

Reset Page