WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Heart Transplant Program at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center has received certification for three years from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Vinay Thohan, M.D., the program’s medical director, said, “Certification is really the culmination of the hard work and dedication of all the members of our team – our surgeons, coordinators, nurse practitioners, physicians and support staff. The result is that 94 percent of these patients are enjoying life with their families, friends and community.”
The heart transplant team is led by both Thohan and cardiovascular surgeon Timothy E. Oaks, M.D., the program’s surgical director. The team includes two cardiologists, five cardiothoracic surgeons, a hospitalist, three nurse coordinators, a nurse practitioner, wellness educator, dietitian, social worker, psychiatrist, pathologist, perfusionists, pharmacist, and five Heart Center administrators and staff members.
“The heart transplant program is a huge resource for our community,” Thohan said. “So many lives are affected by heart disease, and we want every option available for those who come to us for help. We have a great team that works closely with patients, their families and their physicians to provide the best available care for transplant patients.”
Wake Forest Baptist’s heart transplant program, the only one in northwestern North Carolina, began about 20 years ago. It is part of the overall Acute Cardiac Care and Heart Transplant Program that provides comprehensive care for congestive heart failure patients, including patients with cardiomyopathy and heart valve disease and patients who have had heart attacks and coronary bypass surgery.
A multidisciplinary approach to care for congestive heart failure patients is essential because many suffer from related conditions such as kidney problems, anemia, diabetes and lung diseases, which are managed in tandem with other specialties to explore innovative options and optimize patient care.
The latest in treatments as well as individualized plans are available for these patients, including medications, implantable devices, ventricular assist systems and transplant.