WVU Medicine performs state’s first heart transplant

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Robert Parsons and Vinay Badhwar, M.D., pose for a photo four hours after Dr. Badhwar transplanted a new heart into Parsons, who was admitted to the hospital in decompensated end-stage heart failure and shock requiring a temporary mechanical assist pump insterted into his left axillary artery preoperatively.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WOWK) – WVU Medicine has performed the Mountain State’s first heart transplant.

According to a press release, on Saturday, Robert Parsons, a 61-year-old male from Chesapeake, Ohio, got a new lease on life when surgeons at the West Virginia University Heart and Vascular Institute and the WVU Medicine Transplant Alliance performed West Virginia’s first heart transplant.

“Today marks a new chapter for transplantation in West Virginia,” Michael Shullo, Pharm.D., Associate Vice President of Transplant Services for WVU Medicine and leader of the WVU Medicine Transplant Alliance, said. “This is the culmination of a tremendous team effort to support access to organ transplantation for all West Virginians and patients from our surrounding regions.” 

The operation took a total of six hours and concluded at noon. By 4 p.m., Parsons was stable and taken off the ventilator. He was sitting up and visiting with his siblings from Huntington.

The WVU Medicine program has several more patients in need currently on a waiting list for heart transplantation.

“This heart transplant was the first ever in West Virginia’s 156-year history, and it marked a pivotal moment for the Institute as it continues to establish itself as one of the premier heart and vascular programs in the United States,” Albert L. Wright, Jr., president and CEO of the West Virginia University Health System, said. “We are proud of the team of dedicated professionals who made this surgery a success, and we are honored to bring this critical service to the people of West Virginia and all we serve.”

For more information on the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, visit WVUMedicine.org/Heart.

For more information on transplantation or to refer a potential heart transplant patient, contact the WVU Medicine Transplant Alliance at 304-974-3004.

To register as an organ donor, visit www.registerme.org/wvumedicine

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