Loyola Medicine Performs 800th Heart Transplant, Most in Illinois

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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Loyola Medicine Performs 800th Heart Transplant, Most in Illinois

Loyola Medicine 800th heart transplant patient Jose Garcia.

MAYWOOD, IL – A grandfather from Hanover Park, Illinois recently became the 800th patient to receive a heart transplant at Loyola University Medical Center.

“It was like winning the lottery,” said José Garcia, a 53-year-old industrial mechanic with three daughters and three grandchildren.

Loyola performed its first heart transplant on March 11, 1984 and has performed more heart transplants than any other center in Illinois. During the first 10 months of 2016, Loyola performed 29 heart transplants, which also is the highest  in Illinois.

Following two heart attacks, Mr. Garcia developed ischemic cardiomyopathy, which weakened his left ventricle (the heart’s main pumping chamber), leading to heart failure. Mr. Garcia suffered fatigue, swelling in his feet, severe shortness of breath and other symptoms of end-stage heart failure.

In November 2015, Loyola cardiothoracic surgeon Edwin McGee, Jr., MD, implanted a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) in Mr. Garcia and repaired his heart’s tricuspid valve. An LVAD is a pump that helps the left ventricle pump blood to the rest of the body. This “bridge to transplant” therapy saved Mr. Garcia’s life during the 10 months he spent waiting for a transplant.

Mr. Garcia underwent a successful heart transplant in September 2016, which was performed by cardiothoracic surgeon Jeffrey Schwartz, MD. Mr. Garcia’s new heart is working normally and there has been no rejection. “I feel a whole lot better,” he said.

Mr. Garcia has high praise for Loyola’s entire heart transplant team. In addition to Drs. McGee and Schwartz, the team includes Mr. Garcia’s cardiologists, Alain Heroux, MD, and Max Liebo, MD, and nurse coordinators, registered nurses, procurement coordinators, infectious disease specialists, nurse practitioners, anesthesiologists, transplant chaplains, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, dietitians, financial coordinators, clinical pharmacists, social workers and psychologists.

“Everyone on the team has been great,” Mr. Garcia said.

Loyola takes the most challenging cases and provides follow-up care for hundreds of heart transplant patients. Patients who have been turned down by other transplant centers are invited to come to Loyola for a second opinion. Loyola’s one-month and one-year patient- and graft-survival rates exceed national averages.

The program includes top cardiologists and surgeons with decades of experience, including Dr. Heroux, medical director of heart failure and heart transplantation, Mamdouh Bakhos, MD, surgical director of heart failure and heart transplantation and heart transplant surgeon Bryan K. Foy, MD.

Loyola Medicine is nationally recognized for its expertise in diagnosing and treating a broad range of heart and vascular conditions. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois has selected Loyola as a Blue Distinction® Center+ for cardiac care, and Becker’s Hospital Review named Loyola to its 2016 list of "100 hospitals and health systems with great heart programs."

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 92 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 129,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.