Westchester Medical Center celebrates 300th heart transplant despite pandemic

The Westchester Medical Center surpassed its 300th heart transplant.

News 12 Staff

Sep 25, 2020, 3:28 AM

Updated 1,338 days ago


The Westchester Medical Center surpassed its 300th heart transplant.
Doctors who lead the heart transplant team say the program started in 2013 and has grown steadily over time. If a hospital performs more than 20 heart transplants in a year's time, it's considered top tier. The hospital performed 36 in a year, and they're up to 26 this year.
They say a system change in 2018 has made it possible -- giving priority to acute patients and expanding the region that donations can come from.
"It does give you access to such large geographic areas that there's a better chance that you're going to get a heart for your very sick patient," said David Spielvogel M.D., chief of cardiothoracic surgery.
"The new system actually gives hearts to the people that are sickest, and since we started here, we've always taken care of the sickest patients. So now the system is actually benefiting our patients that are really sick, so instead of people waiting months, they're actually getting their hearts in days or weeks," said Dr. Alan Gass, M.D., medical director of the Heart Transplant Program.
Pradeepan Ananthasingam was one of the lucky ones.
About a year ago, the 40-year-old had a heart attack and had to be shocked upward of 30 times upon arrival at WestMed to be kept alive. He was in a coma for 30 days and woke up with a new heart.
"To be here a year later and actually be able to go back to work and not have any signs or symptoms and feel fine ... it's a miracle. It's a miracle of modern medicine," Ananthasingam said.
Time was on his side. While some wait weeks and even months for a transplant, a heart was on its way in days - thanks to that new policy.

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