Gov. Justice says WVU Medicine plans to develop transplant program, tremendous healthcare advancement for West Virginia, state residents
MORGANTOWN, WV – Gov. Jim Justice said today that WVU Medicine's announcement that its plans to start West Virginia’s first heart transplant program at the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute will be of great benefit to all West Virginians and will allow the state's citizens to receive life-saving care closer to home.
"This is fantastic news for all West Virginians," Gov. Justice said. "Providing our citizens with this critical, life-saving care right here at home will make the process of receiving a heart transplant so much easier on the patient and their family and friends. The advancements in health care that continue at WVU Medicine are incredible and we look forward to the future and more program and treatment programs that benefit our residents."
Details of WVU Medicine's plans were outlined during a press conference today.
“We constructed and equipped our 10-story WVU Heart and Vascular Institute to be the most state-of-the-art facility available, and we recruited nationally and internationally recognized cardiothoracic surgeons, cardiologists, and vascular surgeons in order to provide the most advanced care available,” Albert L. Wright, Jr., president and CEO of the West Virginia University Health System, said. “As a result, the comprehensive care and innovations of the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute rival the most prestigious medical centers in the United States.”
Gordon Gee, WVU president and chair of the WVU Health System Board of Directors, said, “As a land-grant institution, West Virginia University’s purpose is to help people when it matters most. In a state where heart disease is the leading cause of death, that means making state-of-the-art cardiac care available close to home. Offering heart transplantation here is another huge advance toward a healthier West Virginia.”
A letter of intent was filed with the West Virginia Health Care Authority on Aug. 10. The 203-page Certificate of Need application was filed on Aug. 20.
“Heart transplantation has been performed for the past 50 years. Today, heart transplantation is considered the standard of care for some patients with a failing heart,” Vinay Badhwar, M.D., executive chair of the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute, said. “For those with end-stage heart failure, we can assist the heart or provide them with a new one. Nearly one year ago, we successfully launched our artificial heart, or left ventricular assist device program, and many patients have received these life-saving devices with excellent outcomes. The next logical step is the development of a heart transplant program, and many of our recently recruited physicians and surgeons have significant experience in heart transplantation.”
Currently, there are 22 West Virginia residents on the waiting list for a heart transplant. Those residents generally have to travel to Pittsburgh or Cleveland to receive their transplants.