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Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute achieves milestone with 600th heart transplant

August 22, 2013
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Saint Luke’s heart transplant program has performed its 600th heart transplant. Only 21 programs in the U.S. have performed more adult heart transplants. The transplant was performed on Aug. 15 on 34-year-old Jamie Poindexter of Pea Ridge, Ark. Poindexter is recuperating well at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute.
This year, Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute celebrates the 28th anniversary of cardiac transplantation and this new milestone builds on a heritage of success treating patients with advanced heart failure.
“Milestones like this are a cause for celebration and reflection. But while statistics and accolades are nice—what gives Saint Luke’s the most satisfaction is seeing transplant patients like Jamie go on to lead productive lives,” said Julie Quirin, Saint Luke’s Hospital CEO.
Saint Luke’s offers the only adult heart transplant program in Kansas City, is the only active adult transplant between Denver and St. Louis, and partners with referring cardiologists across the region. 
The program ranks among the top 10 for number of adult transplants nationwide and has consistently achieved excellent short and long-term survival rates. Compared to 80 percent of U.S. heart transplant programs, which perform 20 or fewer heart transplants per year, Saint Luke’s has averaged 37 transplants per year since 2005. In 2012, the program performed a record 47 heart transplants. 
Wait times at Saint Luke’s are shorter than other programs across the nation, in part because of the altruism of donor families and the experience of the team. Average waiting time is five months at Saint Luke’s according to the most recent statistics.
“Our heart transplant team is very proud of this milestone,” said Michael Borkon, M.D., surgical director of cardiac transplantation at Saint Luke’s and co-executive medical director at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute. “We have come a long way over the past 28 years and have assembled an exceptional team of dedicated and experienced heart failure, critical care, and transplant professionals which represents the very best of what Saint Luke’s is all about.” 
The hospital has been awarded the Medal of Honor for Organ Donation from the Department of Health and Human Services for its success in increasing the number of organs available for donation. 
This is Poindexter’s second transplant – she received her first heart transplant at Saint Luke’s in 2002. 
“Thanks to the gift of life from donor families, and help from the Midwest Transplant Network, we continue to be able to provide a unique opportunity for a second chance at life through transplantation,” said Andrew Kao, M.D., medical director, Saint Luke’s cardiac transplantation program.

About Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute

Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, a member of Saint Luke’s Health System and a teaching affiliate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, is one of the preeminent cardiovascular programs in the country. Its legacy of innovation began more than 25 years ago when it opened as the nation’s first heart hospital. Since then, the Heart Institute has earned a world-wide reputation for excellence in the treatment of heart disease, including interventional cardiology, cardiovascular surgery, imaging, heart failure, transplant, heart disease prevention, women’s heart disease, electrophysiology, outcomes research, and health economics.  With more than 50 full-time board certified cardiovascular specialists on staff, the Heart Institute offers one of the largest heart failure/heart transplant programs in the country, has the largest experience with transcatheter aortic valve replacement in the Midwest, and is a global teaching site for the newest approaches to opening challenging blocked arteries using minimally invasive techniques.