New Jersey’s first lung transplant program marks successful year
New Jersey’s only lung transplantation program, started in June of 2008, is now fully up and running at the Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBIMC), a member of the Saint Barnabas Health Care System.
As part of the Center for Advanced Heart and Lung Disorders and Transplantation Medicine at NBIMC, the lung transplant program offers New Jersey residents increased access to single and double lung transplantation.
The program is under the direction of Dr. Lawrence McBride and Dr. Sean Studer as the surgical and medical directors of the program.
New hope for patients
The transplant program gives hope to many CF patients who have waited patiently to receive single or double lung transplants.
Between the years 2000 and 2004 more than 330 New Jersey residents were registered for lung transplants. But during that same time, only 121 of them received the life-saving surgery, mostly at hospitals in Pennsylvania and New York.
Until the establishment of the new program, New Jersey was underserved in terms of lung transplants. Dr. McBride noted: “We are the 10th most populated state in the country and yet if we look at the top 25 most populated states, New Jersey was the only one without a lung transplant program. In 2007, there were 54 New Jersey donor lungs shipped out of the state to be transplanted in other programs.”
The community outreach and patient education aspects of the new lung transplant program are being developed using the experience and expertise of the highly successful heart transplant program at NBIMC. The goal is to generate a collective awareness about the importance of organ donation so that those who want to donate will follow through.
“The new program provides better and more efficient care for the people of New Jersey,” said Dr. Mark H. Zucker, director of heart failure treatment and transplantation at NBIMC. “It will increase organ donation, reduce the waiting time for transplants and ensure that people of all socio-economic classes have access to treatment.”