Having originated at Jewish Hospital in Louisville, the program performed both the first heart-lung (1988) and first double lung transplant (1991) procedures in Kentucky. To date the program has performed over 225 such operations and now averages 20 new lung transplant procedures each year.
Assumed by U of L pulmonary specialists in 2010, the Lung Transplant Program now works collaboratively with other experts in advanced lung diseases such as emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis, cystic fibrosis and pulmonary hypertension. Such collaborations offer a comprehensive approach to the management of patients with advanced lung disease allowing for the development of specific and personalized treatment strategies.
Additionally, the program utilizes state-of-the-art therapies such as extra-corporeal oxygenation support systems and aggressive pulmonary rehabilitation as necessary for both candidates and recipients of lung transplant procedures. Despite having assumed these challenges and high acuity patients, the program boasts outcome statistics that meet or exceed national standards.
The U of L Lung Transplant team members have a diverse background with which allows for a unique and rich blend of expertise. The team consists of two expert thoracic transplant surgeons and the only two pulmonologists in the region who are specifically trained in lung transplantation. Together, they amass nearly 60 years of cumulative experience.
Surgical Director, Dr. Victor van Berkel, trained in the lung transplant program at Washington University in St. Louis and additionally holds a Ph.D. in transplant immunology.
Medical Director, Dr. Allan Ramirez, trained at the University of Illinois at Chicago and has particular expertise in the biology of organ rejection responses in transplantation.
Dr. Michael Bousamra also trained at the prestigious transplant program at Washington University and was one of the pioneers of the lung transplant program at Jewish Hospital in the 1990s.
Dr. David Nunley gained his early lung transplant experience in the Lung Transplant Center at the University of Pittsburgh where he specialized in transplantation for supportive lung disorders and biological mechanisms of post-transplant bacterial infections.
Along with numerous skilled transplant nurses and patient coordinators, this team is poised to respond to the ever-changing challenges in the world of transplantation with the aim of delivering 'cutting edge' care for the 21st century.