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Lutheran Hospital To Drop Heart Transplant Program

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With a physician's decision to relocate, Lutheran Hospital effectively ends its heart transplant program on April 1.

Officials with the Lutheran Health Network announced the plan in a release issued Friday morning.

Lutheran physicians performed the hospital's first transplant in 1985, and there are currently four patients on the hospital's transplant waiting list. But the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the United Network for Organ Sharing require programs to have a dedicated cardiologist with specific training, experience and certification for heart transplant programs.

The hospital's transplant cardiologist is moving out of state next month, and attempts to recruit a replacement fell through.  That leaves the program without an advanced heart failure cardiologist, according to a press release.

The loss of the heart transplant program does not affect the hospital's kidney transplant program, officials said.

Rebecca manages the news at WBOI. She joined the staff in December 2017, and brought with her nearly two decades of experience in print journalism, including 15 years as an award-winning reporter for the Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne.